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THE 



NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 



PRESENTED BY 



Edwin . Mi It on. Rpjl? 
Jun* 15,1920. 







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QUICK as a flash Tad drew the senora in front of his 
body and threw a shot from an automatic pun into 
the dome of colored glass which ht the room with a soft 
— diance. 



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PEACE AND QUIET 



A NOVEL 



BY 

Edwin Milton Royle 

AtJTHOB OF ^*^ 

2%e Squaw Man 




HARPER & BROTHERS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 



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Books by 
EDWIN MILTON ROYLE 

PEACE AND QUIET 
THE SQUAW MAN 



HARPEB & BROTHERS. NEW YORK 



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Pbacb and Quibt 

^ " Copjrrigfat, 1916. by Harper & Brothers 

* * • * Printed in the United Sutes of America 

* '* ' Publlahed September, 19x6 






TO THE MEMORY OF 

JOHNNY POE 

AND TO 

THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE 

For when that Spirit is dead within us the 
great American Republic will be catalogued with 
the departed glories of Greece and Romcy and 
the curious will dig up our remains even as 
now they are uncovering Babylon and Nineveh 



PEACE AND QUIET 



CHAPTER I 

WARNING! If you are yearning for palpitating 
problems and soul analysis, please pass on to 
the next booth and book. This is the story of 
Thaddeus Castleman, and no one had ever taken T. C. 
seriously, with one exception. The exception was Miss 
Tranquillity Buck, and even this young woman, who was 
the one serious note in the glad ragtime of his irresponsible 
life, subscribed to the general indictment that *'Tad 
never drew a serious breath." 

However, you must have noticed not alone that the 
rain falls on the just and the unjust, but that fate is 
singularly insensible to humor, and confronts the con- 
firmed comic with death and taxes with the same in- 
exorability decreed to the philosopher and the stoic. 

Now, taxes are still capable of appealing to our sense 
of the droll and ridiculous, but we take death very seri- 
ously, and there is something shocking and incongruous 
in a jester facing death. Thaddeus Castleman — ^no one 

ever called him that except on formal occasions like this — 

[1] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

was facing death. The gray ghost of the dying day was 
shrinking through the narrow slit in the rocky wall of his 
cell, and he knew that before the sun rose again in the 
east he would stand with his back to a wall and face a 
firing-squad. 

One shrinks from dwelling on the horrors of a below- 
water cell in the prison of San Juan d'Ulloa at Vera Cruz, 
where sometimes five or six hundred men were confined 
in one room without sanitary accommodations of any kind. 
We are told by a Red Cross director that "the most note- 
worthy feat performed by the United States military 
officers was that of cleaning this ancient and notorious 
fortress prison. It was evident that it had never been 
cleaned in its entire history of several centuries, and the 
filth was indescribable.'* 

We do not deny to our southern neighbors the posses- 
sion of many virtues, but cleanliness, it seems, is not 
conspicuous among them, or, at least, it has its limita- 
tions. The same authority informs us that "Mexican 
women are scrupulously clean regarding their hair, which 
they wash every day, but the rest of the body is f ortimate 
if it is washed on St. John's Day, that day being set apart 
for baths. A great many have reached the age of sixty 
or seventy, never, according to their own statements, 
having bathed." 

What San Juan d'Ulloa must have been when Thaddeus 
Castleman was incarcerated there, before the American 
occupation and before the Yankee miracle had been 
wrought, may be imagined but not described. 

Tad had a companion in misery, Gren. Enrique Galboa, 
and these two men had one thing, perhaps, to be grateful 
for, and that was that there were no other human occu- 

[21 



PEACE AND QUIET 

pants of their cell; but this bad its sinister aspect, too, 
for it denoted an effort on the part of the authorities to 
draw the veil of complete oblivion over their fate. As 
the door of the cell was closing on the two condemned men 
Tad had asked the jailer for blankets, a request that 
seemed to ffll that worthy with jocund mirth. 

Blankets indeed! What an idea! Why, the glorious 
soldiers of Mexico were living, fighting, dying without 
blankets. What unheard-of luxury would prisoners be 
wanting next? And then he hastened to add, as if in 
apology for their poor accommodations: 

"But then it won't be for long. You'll be shot in the 
morning." 

In the morning! Have you ever imagined yourself 
in a similar position? How would you spend those 
intervening hours, do you think? Of course we know 
the highly organized must suffer most, but no two 
minds are alike, and no two individuals' thoughts would 
be identical. The human pendulum may swing from the 
extreme of the subnormal creature who walks firmly, 
ox-like, to his doom, to the terrorized wretch in collapse 
who has to be carried. Perhaps the fatal moment is not 
the most difficult to face, for the presence of witnesses 
is a bugle-call to the normal man to play a man's part, 
but the dark, cruel hours that go before, when he is 
alone with his thoughts. And those thoughts, would they 
be yours, or would you be theirs? 

"In the morning!" Tad heard the man say it, but it 
seemed to have no personal application. Was it real? 
Was it true? Wouldn't he wake up and find it just a dis- 
tressing dream? He knew he had faced a farcical pro- 
ceeding called a court martial, and somebody had re- 

181 



PEACE AND QUIET 

marked something about death, but wouldn't it turn out 
that there had been a mistake somewhere or somehow? 
The trial hadn't lasted long enough for him to get used to 
a complete realization of its meaning, to adjust himself to 
a sudden change. To be a perfectly normal, healthy man 
one minute and the next to be a — Well, it was unbeliev- 
lEible; it was worse, it was ridiculous for a thing like that 
to happen to him. The cards were stacked. As he had 
played the game the joker always took every trick. Life 
was a laugh. What was the use of anything? Nothing! 
And yet, here the silly thing was getting serious, and the 
most confirmed humorist is restive when the joke is on 
him. What had he. Tad Castleman, done to deserve 
this? 

He had no hatred or enmity in his heart for anybody, 
in spite of the fact that he had at times been wickedly 
misunderstood. Some people had called him a '^ soldier 
of fortune," some even had used the word "adventurer," 
but what did they mean? The worst that could be said 
of him was that he was troubled with superabundant 
health, enjoyed excitement, had to have some outlet for 
his activities, and had been carel^s, perhaps, at times in 
the selection of the outlet. He told himself that he had 
always been a gentleman and a man of honor. In money 
matters, it is true that he had been unfortunate; never 
seemed able to pay off all of his debts all of the time and 
none of his debts some of the time, but he had been known 
on occasion to even pay outlawed obligations, and no one 
had ever accused him of being crooked or disloyal to a 
pal. 

In fact, here he was in a nasty Mexican prison, than 
"^bich nothing could be nastier, just because he had been 

(41 



PEACE AND QUIET 

faithful to a pal, faithful to the cause of a friend whose 
cause he knew to be lost, and he did not regret his loyalty; 
indeed, he did not even scrutinize it. What else could a 
man have done? This was a scurvy trick fate was play- 
ing on Tad Castleman. However, if it must be — But 
must it be? 

As his eyes became accustomed to the clammy murk of 
the place he saw that it was grimly naked, cut out of the 
natural rock. A hasty examination convinced him that 
there was no escape except through the door, and he knew 
the only key to that would be a substantial bribe, and 
what money he possessed when he was arrested had long 
since been appropriated by those who felt he would no 
longer need it. The representatives of his country in the 
City of Mexico had made the usual formal protests, to 
no effect except to have him secretly transferred to' San 
Juan d'Ulloa in Vera Cruz. There was, of course, a 
United States consul at Vera Cruz. How to get word 
to him? That would require money, too, and even with 
money it would require time and negotiations, and these 
cruel hours were hurrying them to meet those formal pro- 
ceedings — "in the morning"! Tad crouched and sat 
with his back to the cell door. The heavy silence was 
getting on his nerves, a silence troubled, portentous. 
Finally it became unbearable. 

"*In the morning,* eh?" he murmured, and it was a 
comfort to have some one to talk to even if it happened 
to be a man he could not bring himself to like. 

"'In the morning,'" he repeated. "Did you get that. 
General? Get Cheerful Charlie's effort at consolation?" 

El Seflor Don General Enrique Galboa made no reply, 
but Tad persisted with nagging familiarity: 



PEACE AND QUIET 

**You are a light-hearted, pleasure-loving people, En- 
rique, but if a vote were taken as to your favorite sport» 
I fancy telling a Yankee he was to be shot in the morning 
would get the decision over even bull-stabbing, no es 
verdad?** 

Few foreigners are enthusiastic over our alleged Ameri- 
can sense of humor, and our almost universal habit of 
"kidding** is nowhere less appreciated than among our 
Latin neighbors, who resent it as an unpleasant form of 
vulgarity. Galboa made no reply, but, espying on the 
opposite side a narrow shelf of rock, where one might sit 
down or sleep, if one slept at all, he started to make his 
way thither. He had not taken a couple of steps in that 
direction before he slipped and slithered into the muck 
and slime covering a natural depression in the floor of 
the dungeon. Then the general found expression. 

"Ah, my General,** said Tad, with enthusiasm, as the 
last dynamic expletive spent its force, "accept my poor 
thanks! When it comes to vulgar, profane, and indecent 
expression your noble and eloquent Spanish is suprepie. 
Again my thanks.** 

The Mexican oflScer made no reply, and Tad was con- 
scious that his effort to fight the sodden gloom of the 
place was forced and hollow, and he fell back into a 
depression too deep for words. 

Galboa had been quick to perceive and appropriate the 
only place where one could lie down at full length, and 
when he curled up on the dour rock and actually slept 
Tad's sense of absolute and appalling loneliness was 
complete. 

How could he do it? Galboa had had an eventful 
career. In the opinion of his fellow-prisoner an awakened 

10] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

conscience ought to have forced him to sit up and con- 
template his past and suffer accordingly, but Enrique had 
the Indian strain in him, the Indian's convenient fatalism. 
Instead of preparing to meet his Maker he shut out the 
eternal, the internal, and the external, and slept. It was 
a fine achievement. Tad regarded it with wonder. He 
paid it the tribute of emulation, but to no avail. The 
more he reached out to her the more sleep drew away 
from him, back, back into the horrors of the night. He 
began to realize that his night, his last night, was to be 
an ordeal. 

The darkness, the clammy chill, the vermin, the filth, 
the cruel discomforts were getting under and over his 
guard and landing jab after jab on his quivering nerves 
in the same raw spots. He found he was losing control 
of his muscles; they were acting independently of his 
will. It is very alarming when the body starts a mutiuy, 
and he made a desperate effort not to shake and shiver 
and jerk in this irresponsible way. He called to him- 
self, his higher self, not to surrender, not to shame his 
manhood, not to give in or give upj not to take the count; 
he told himself that fighting was his job, that so long as 
he was conscious he would come back, get into the scrap 
'again, and that his foe, whether man or devil or slow 
torture or fear, would find him ready to take and give a 
punch; a mental insurrection organized in the interests 
of the primal instinct to survive. 

But it was an awful experience, this wrestling with the 

invisible. The phrase, "In the morning,** kept coming 

back to him again and again. It seemed photographed 

on his brain. He had in the course of his adventures 

been compelled to witness some of these ceremonies. 

17] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

They had given him a most disagreeable impression even 
as an outsider, but to suddenly become the party of the 
first part! He could anticipate every small detail of the 
proceedings. Was it possible that that was now to hap- 
pen to him, and so soon? "In the morning," to which 
each breath, each minute, each second was hurrying 
him along. 

He clutched his own body to keep it from shaking, 
clutched it with physical violence, and over his heart he 
felt something. It was an old cabinet photograph. They 
had let him keep it. In fact, he had bought the small 
privilege of keeping it with the last of his money. 

He took it out of his pocket and looked at it. That 
he could not actually see it in the blackness of darkness 
did not matter. He knew the loved face and the faded 
writing on the back: 

"Remember, always remember I believe in you!" 

Thus it came to pass that "In the morning" no longer 
had power or dominion over Thaddeus Castleman, and 
he knew that there might be death but there would never 
be surrender, and he was comforted. Thus one nail 
drives out another, and Tad was spared the agony of 
seeing the day dribble through the sUt in the waU of his 
cell, for when it came he was asleep. 



CHAPTER II 

CRISES shock us with their suddenness, their un- 
related horror, but there is usually a well-worn trail 
leading up to them. Of course young Castleman 
did not deliberately walk into a Mexican prison to face 
a firing-squad, but it is difficult to see how with his prem- 
ises he could have reached any other conclusion. 

Tad's home had been a happy one in spite of the fact 
that his memories were unblest by any recollection of 
his mother. He realized that he had missed something — 
something wonderful, something that would have made 
a great difiFerence. He conjectured that she must have 
been very unlike his father, for he was unlike his father. 
Castleman, Sr., was a man too grimly engrossed with the 
task of leaving a fortune to his child to have time for 
making the acquaintance of that child. And perhaps it 
would not have made any difference in the end. Father 
and son were fond of each other in a disparate way. 
Perhaps if the mother had lived she would have supplied 
the points of contact. As it was, they differed about 
such important things. 

Fate marked the place where Tad was bom, and then 

indulged in a faintly satirical smile. Fate is sometimes 

very particular in this matter of environment, and these 

influences unsuspected, irrevocable, put out unseen hands 

and compel the future. 

19] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

This to him important event occnrred in a stately 
Georgian pile that looked out austerely over the wide 
reaches of the Hudson opposite to West Point. The 
haughty house always seemed to take itself seriously and 
to look down with a patronizing air on the homely village 
at its feet. In the great, solemn edifice was a great, solemn 
library, and on its walls hung an old cavalry saber, a 
Civil War relic that belonged to his mother's father. 
The boy had never been allowed to play with it, or touch 
it, but there it hung through thosQ impressionable, forma- 
tive years, doing its silent, inevitable, forbidden work; 
for the child understood that it was forbidden without 
being told. On the maternal side were fighting men — 
soldiers and sailors. 

The boy was not altogether alone, for often at dusk, in 
the silent allurements of the night, water sprites came 
up from the river to play with him, and they had talks 
in which nothmg was said, and queer games in which 
nothing was done, and confidences about matters too 
unreal to be betrayed, and he felt the call of far-off lands 
and the lure of the unknown. Spice-laden winds filled 
the dreamy sails that drifted by, exotic winds bearing 
strange hints of the tropics and the Orient. Fascinating, 
terrifying monsters sprang from nowhere and darted here 
and there through the fantastic shadows breathing out 
fire and smoke, challenging the hero to mortal combat 
and fleeing before his unconquerable courage, and the 
eternal romance of the great river took possession of him 
and became his playmate. 

And when the gray clouds drifted in double quick over 

the battlements of West Point the lad saw them alive 

with flashing bayonets; he felt the rush of serried columns, 

(101 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the call of the flag; he heard the che^s, the scream of the 
fife, the wild throb of the drum; and often he led the sub- 
limated dream hoists into the bursting flames of the dying 
sun, and the silent man coining his heart in Nassau 
Street never knew. 

In spite of the fact that the lad always had a vague 
sense of thwarted impulses, he was not an insurgent or 
rebel. He had nothing against the established order of 
things except its inconvenience, and this inconvenience 
intruded itself upon his notice at an early age. For 
example, there were the rector's windows. Now every- 
body knows that boys play ball in vacant lots. Every- 
body knows that a ball hit squarely and with sufficient 
energy will travel a certain distance in a given direction, 
and everybody knows that if a glass surface intervenes 
in the plane of its trajectory the ball will penetrate the 
glass. Why, then, should the glass be so placed as to 
invite destruction? 

All boys have these problems, and curiously enough 
these trifles, these seemingly inconsequential things, some- 
times rise to the top and float about on the surface in 
the storm and shipwreck of men's lives. Up to that 
sickening crash of glass the day had betrayed no sign 
of being anything but a perfect day in a perfect boy*s 
life. After a while one gets used to these betrayals, but 
in the morning of life it's very disconcerting. 

At first he tried to get himself to run away, but he was 
always absurdly slow at some things. It seemed to re- 
quire argument, and he was never good at argument. 
He remembered his surprise when he looked about and 
saw that his comrades had fled and left him in his favorite 
rdle of facing the consequences, and when the rector 

[111 



PEACE AND QUIET 

appeared he had a realizing sense of the logic of events, 
how one thing always leads to another, and how useless 
this logic seems to be in the practical affairs of life, al- 
ways putting in an appearance when it is obviously too 
late. On the way to the paternal tribunal the rector 
had said: 

"Your father forbade your playing ball in the lot, 
didn't he?" 

"Yes, and I'U get a Uckin* for this." 

"Perhaps not, if you're repentant." 

"What's that?" 

"Sorry. You are sorry, aren't you?" 

"I'll be sorry to get a lickin'." 

"I wonder if you wouldn't like to come to our Sabbath- 
school?" 

"D'rather take a lickin'." 

And then they stood in the great, solemn library, 
that well-remembered judgment seat, and to the distant 
and austere person who looked up in well-bred surprise 
the rector bowed and referred the look to his small 
companion. 

"Yes, dad, I broke his window, and I wish you'd pay 
for it and take it out of my next month's allowance." 
And he felt a glow of honest pride over his own mag- 
nanimity. 

"I don't think that will be necessary, Mr. Castleman. 
I came with Tad because I wanted to say I hope you won't 
punish him for this. He's a manly little chap, and we'd 
like to have him in our Sabbath-school, if you've no 
objection." 

"Haven't you been attending Simday-school, sir?" 
And Castleman, Sr., rang the bell, and when the maid 

112] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

entered, said to her: "To-morrow is Sunday, isn't it? 
Well, see to it that Thaddeus attends the Sunday-school 
at the Church of the Redeemer." 

Fortimately Tad was not inclined to cynicism or then 
and there he might have been embittered against the 
world by the discovery that we are not even allowed to 
choose our own punishments. 

Here he was willing to take the licking, but was forced 
to take the cruel and unusual punishment of Sunday- 
school instead. 

Scrubbed within an inch of his life, in resplendent 
raiment that invited the gibes of the proletariat, as he was 
moved helplessly along by the truculent maid, he took 
his place among similar unfortunates with resentment in 
his heart. The Golden Text was, "Love one another,** 
and thus early he had been made sensible of the difference 
between the ideal and the real, theory and practice, for, 
being the new-comer, he was subjected to initiation by 
pins inserted at odd places and moments, gum placed 
where it would do the least good, sly pinches during sa- 
cred song, and kicks administered during prayer. The re- 
straining presence of the teacher alone prevented an out- 
break of hostilities among the little angels, and Tad's 
hold on the virtues of Christian humility was visibly 
loosened. He waited outside for some of the love-one- 
another boys, but as they appeared en bloc he realized 
that he would be compelled to postpone his demonstra- 
tion of affection for them. They grinned with apprecia- 
tion, and he left the Church of the Redeemer with that 
unpleasant sense of thwarted impulses. 

On his way home he encountered a parade, an army 

with banners, or, to be strictly accurate, a banner, wooden 
2 [13] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

swords and guns, paper chapeaus, and a hectic drum. 
It seemed like an answer tp prayer. He ofiFered to enlist 
at once, but the general in command looked him over with 
undisguised contempt and confessed to a prejudice against 
lady soldiers. His memory of what followed was always 
a bit hazy, but after it was all over the former commander 
was reduced to the ranks, and the army cheerfully ac- 
cepted the new general by right of conquest; the parade 
went on, but, alas! sic iransU gloria mundi, the truculent 
maid aforesaid emerged from ambush around the corner, 
made a flank movement, captured the new general, an- 
nexed him, and marched him ingloriously before the 
paternal tetrarch. Again he was conscious of not ap- 
pearing to advantage. A nose already larger than neces- 
sary for its appointed uses, and getting visibly larger, an 
eye "like Mars* to threaten and command,** but fast 
taking on tints supplied by art, not nature, and his once 
decorous raiment made explanations imnecessary. Parents 
no longer discipline children, but children still punish 
parents. The elder Castleman, however, was an old- 
fashioned man. To the horrors ci Sunday-school and 
the discomforts of the recent conflict were now added the 
refinements of a thorough Hddng and an enforced fast. 
Why the imnecessary additions? Why was a boy pun- 
ished for being a boy? But no one was interested in a 
little boy's view of the inequalities of life. 

Yes, there was one with penetrating vision, a woman, 
a most diminutive specimen of her sex, but a woman even 
then with a wide horizon quite disproportionate to her 
angle of vision. If she had not been a personality she 
could never have risen superior to her name. Tranquillity, 

an affliction fastened upon the helpless child by her 

[141 



PEACE AND QUIET 

knaggy parent, who was unduly proud of a Quaker an- 
cestry from whom he believed he inherited his strength 
of character and his serenity. The latter was a singular 
obsession. In his cadet days young Buck had been an 
admirer of Tad's mother, and the friendship of the two 
families had been sustained, although there was now al- 
most nothing in common between Castleman, Sr., and 
Major Buck except the fact that each had lost the mother 
of his only child. The major and his little daughter were 
spending the week's end in the big Georgian house, and 
no small part of Tad's misery was due to the fact that 
he realized that the young lady visitor had a complete 
knowledge of his humiliations. 

Up to this moment he had bestowed upon Miss Tran- 
quillity's existence the barest notice, she being a mere 
female and therefore a negligible nothing. At the close 
of this eventful Sabbath Tad stood on the edge of the 
noble lawn and gazed long and sullenly at the beckoning 
river. It called to him, and he was on the verge of de- 
liberately choosing a piratical career when he became 
aware of an unwelcome and a resented presence. His en- 
forced fast made him acutely conscious of the fact that 
the odious little female was about to bite into a marvelous 
and seductive apple. She looked at the budding buc- 
caneer, and, with that female intuition that absolutely 
demonstrates the inferiority of mere man, she boldly 
marched up to him, put the temptation in his hand, and 
deliberately announced that she liked him. There being 
no witness to her effrontery and his shame, he accepted 
her unblushing adoration and her apple, and devoured 
it without giving her even a bite. Apples have started 
a lot of tbinga. 



PEACE AND QUIET 

He managed to conceal his passion from the world for 
a long time by the exercise of great cunning and shocking 
rudeness, but he never deceived the lady in the case for 
a single moment. 

The bright spots in Tad*s lonely childhood were birth- 
days. It was an established formula that on these oc- 
casions Castleman» Sr.» gave up his day to the lad with- 
out asking impertinent questions. It was in the throb 
and glow of early spring, while they were still in the 
town house, more cold and solemn even than the Greor- 
gian palace, that Castleman, Sr., found himself being 
personally conducted by the boy to the river, his river, 
the river of dreams. It just looked like the Hudson to 
the elder, and as they sailed up the familiar stream the 
father was impressed with the utter want of originality 
and initiative of his son in choosing a holiday excursion 
along such familiar lines, and even when they landed 
at West Point he had no sense of any hidden meaning in 
the event. The commandant. Major Buck, and his 
diminutive daughter. Miss Tranquillity, were taken com- 
pletely by surprise, but were sincerely cordial in their 
greeting of the imexpected guests, and they were on the 
parade-grounds witnessing the drill of the cadets before 
the truth about his boy broke through the years of pre- 
occupation into the man's consciousness. 

Suddenly he became aware that his child was the victim 

of neglect, not his neglect, but just neglect, that his boy 

was a stranger to him, that things had been happening 

outside of stocks and bonds, that perhaps it wasn't too 

late. The financier was conscious of a great thrill near 

him, of sensible human vibrations, and, looking down, he 

saw the boy and girl hand in hand. She was gazing at 

[161 



PEACE AND QUIET 

him, and he was looking at the young soldiers-to-be, his 
face glowing and aflame. It was the same light the lad 
had seen from the other side of the river as he looked 
into the bursting flames of the dying sun. 

Our American attitude toward the soldier somewhat 
resembles that of the Chinese. If anybody had accused 
Castleman, Sr., of being a soldier, a fighter, he would 
have been startled, though he had no illusions as to the 
relentless character of the warfare in Nassau Street, no 
quarter asked or given, and he was fighting like a demon, 
although he knew perfectly well that all he would carry out 
of the battle would be his scars and a little decoration — 
R. I. P. Nevertheless, the soldier was to him a useless 
idler and a possible menace, the last resort of men unfit 
for anything else. So on the way home he remarked: 

"By the way. Tad, I don't know that I ever spoke of 
it before, but, of course, you will go to college, and, of 
course, you will go to my college.** 

•*Yes, sir." 

The passing of the West Point dream left a deep woimd 
until the day Tad stood up alongside of his father among 
the electrified thousands in the bleachers and saw the 
tide of battle ebb and flow as the light-armed legionaries 
of Princeton went up against the Hoplites of Yale, 
and men and women stood in the hush of a suffocating 
silence, ever and anon broken, ripped, shattered, torn 
asunder by screams, gasps, roars of a frenzied multitude 
mad with excitement and the lust of battle. Tad was 
amazed to see even the cultured calm of his father detach 
and disappear in the primitive welter. He forgot the 
struggle for the moment to take in the unbelievable spec- 
tacle of this austere gentleman now muttering smothered 

[17] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

to Princeton to engage in intellectual pursuits. Now 
one may admit, perhaps, that there are people .en- 
gaged in intellectual pursuits in Princeton, but if Tad 
had ever met an intellectual pursuit face to face, he 
would have had for it the impersonal interest he be- 
stowed upon the archsopteryx, as not even interesting 
if true. 

There are times when this attitude has its disadvan- 
tages, but why think of them? life wasn't all sunshine 
even then; there was moonlight occasionally — ah, never 
in the world of men before or since was there siich moon- 
light! This may seem extravagant, but it is not. Old 
Nassau has a moon peculiar to herself, all her own, quite 
unlike any other moon, and when seen from a certain 
angle its miracles are wonderful. That night of the *^ cane 
spree," when he was the Freshman heavy-weight cham- 
pion! The tall, ghostly towers, some of them so old, 
standing around and aloof, looking down on the great 
event with the shadow of such amused condescension, as 
much as to say: 

"This seems very important to you, doesn't it? Yes, 
well, we have seen this for many, many years, and we 
will see it for many, many more, long after you are gone 
and forgotten, and it's all moonshine, the same old moon- 
shine. Well, go to it!'* 

Even the towers talk slang in Princeton. 

So it came to pass that he stood on the resilient turf 
in gymnasium shirt and trunks, trained to the hout*, with 
the honor of his class in his hands, receiving the last pearls 
of wisdom from his seconds, those? wonderful Juniors who 
have been through it all and know everything, and are 
so noble to condescend to impart it to a mere Freshman, 

1201 



PEACE AND QUIET 

His instructions were very definite and positive. His 
adversary, the Sophomore champion, was heavier but 
slower; very muscular, but almost muscle-bound; would 
get in his own way. Tad was to cut loose, make the 
running, take the cane in the first five minutes or he 
wouldn't take it at all, and spring the new trick right 
at the start. 

Every year it's the same. Every year it's new! — ^the 
moonlight, the ghostly towers, the dark, shifting crowds, 
the air tense with suppressed excitement! Like a dutiful 
underclassman he followed his seconds' advice. He 
sprung the wonderful new trick; something was the 
matter with it; it didn't come off; his enemy smiled. 
He cut out the pace, and started to toss the other young 
gentleman about, to his physical detriment and discomfort. 
The muscle-bound theory was a delusion. He discarded 
all the wonderful tricks he had been taught, and all the 
theory and advice, and made up his mind to just one thing, 
staying with it — ^this more from instinct than judgment. 
Why not let the other fellow do all the work and wear him- 
self out? He found this did not suit his opponent, but 
his own classmates goaded the Sophomore until finally 
he felt he had to show cause, and he began to extend him- 
self. Tad remembered he once thought he had wind, 
but it must have been a long while ago. He knew he 
was near exhaustion. How long could he last? A ring 
of men crowded around the combatants, giving them only 
room enough to fight, and following the battle as it shifted 
here and there over the green turf. Like most observers, 
they were free of advice to the principals. Every one 
knew just what to do except the men trained to do it. 
The advice was all right, only there was another man who 

121 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

had his hands on the same stick. It seemed a year. It 
was a long time, for the other bouts were over, and the 
Freshman had lost his cane in both the light-weight and 
middle-weight bouts. 

His own hysterical classmates called to Tad, begged 
him to redeem their precious honor, to save them from 
eternal disgrace. 

He and his adversary were prone upon the turf; he 
didn't know how it happened, but he was lying with the 
weight of his body on the cane. He made up his mind 
to stay there until he got back to life. It seemed that the 
pajty of the second part, too, wasn't averse to resting 
for a moment. Tad felt his second wind come to him. 
The other chap got some of the same kind too, apparently, 
for by sheer strength he was turning the Freshman over, 
when Tad, instead of resisting, gave way to the other's 
might. The two fell backward, staggered to their feet, 
and before his adversary could regain his balance Tad 
turned, gave him the hip throw, lifted him over his head, 
and, before the Sophomore had fairly hit the ground, 
twisted the stick from his unwilling grasp. It was all 
over. 

There was the fierce animal bellow of triumph, and 
unseen hands lifted Tad's nerveless body up in the air, 
carrying it around in the moonlight while it gasped for 
breath, without voice enough to beg them to let him down; 
and black spots and bright spots danced intermittently 
in the night air, and he had hard work not to shed tears, 
and he felt he'd like to shake hands with the good old 
sport who had let him have the cane. And the cane, his 
trophy, the guerdon of victory! When he saw it again 
it made him feel peculiarly silly, for, aflutter with ribbons, 

[22] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

it was hanging on the wall of Miss Tranquillity Buck's 
study in Miss Dense's fashionable seminary for young 
ladies. Where is it now? Who can tell? Probably it 
has gone up in the smoke of a festal fire or in search ,of 
animal life on the back fence long ago* Where is Alex- 
ander's crown or C«sar*s sword? 

Moonshine? Yes, the old towers were right, but isn*t 
it a bit priggish in the towers — ^this shadowy condescen- 
sion! Coming of such an old and highly respectable 
Gothic family, and feeling so secure in their position, it 
is easy for them to turn up their stone noses at moonshine; 
but isn't moonshine real, too? 

And there are places in Princeton especially dedicated 
to it; one place in particular. It's called the TriMi^e. 
You wouldn't think, perhaps, that moonshine could be 
inclosed in the rigidity of anything so uncompromising. 
Well, this is not the foolish kind where the square of the 
hypothenuse is equal to something or other of no interest 
to anybody on the other two sides. The base of this 
triangle is called "Lover's Lane." Seen in the daytime, 
this is one kind of a place, but seen in the night, with 
the leaves whispering unutterable things and the moon- 
light reflected in the eyes of the one other being in the 
universe (for the time being, at any rate), it is quite an- 
other place. And when that other being happens to be 
Miss Tranquillity Buck, and you two have stolen awi^ 
from the Sophomore reception (\idiich is well enough in 
its way, too), and you two are floating together up the 
nave of the cathedral, up to the high altar of love to the 
music of the Angel's Song of Hope — ^well, then moonshine 
becomes the most real reality in a deadly real world. 
Fortunately the leaves wither every year in Lover's Lane, 

I«8] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and they fall, and what they have seen and heard disap- 
pears with them. 

Fortunately! And then the Lane is so transitory and 
so irresponsible. At either end you walk back into life 
where you left it; where you have to pay (your father's 
money) for board, and go to lectures, and face (oh, Lord!) 
examinations! Lover's Lane is only a short walk, but 
while you're in there everything is eternal — ^while it 
lasts! 

It's only when you get out that you realize that you 
are in no position to marry, or ask anybody to wait a 
hundred years while you grow up and finish a couple 
more years at college, and then take on the idiotic struggle 
to establish yourself in a business or a profession, or some 
other foolish time-wasting thing. 

Confound the money end of everything! 

And you'd certainly think that when a fellow's father 
had previously been through Princeton he'd know how 
expensive it was, and realize that the cost of everything 
was always and forever more, and you'd hardly believe 
he would write a sarcastic letter like the following: 

Dear Tad, — ^Your brief (as usual) letter says: *'Have been 
working hard. Please send me an extra hundred, etc." 

Speaking of work, your term report is before me, but it doesn*t 
mention a cane I believe you took from a Sophomore. Did you 
bet on yourself? If so, then you ought to be tn a hundred. 
My dear boy, poker is very hard work, and has broken down 
many a sturdy constitution. Try a course of study for a change. 
In one of your recent letters you say — "Money flows here like 
water.*' I learn indirectly that is literally true in your case. 
I hear that you dropped from a dormitory window a paper bag 
full of water into the bass horn of the local negro brass band. 
I hear that the colored person at the other end of the horn was 

1241 



PEACE AND QUIET 

very much annoyed, and that it cost you twenty-five dollars 
to square it — money flowing like water! Feeling that in 
someway this is perhn^ all my fault, I am sending you the 
hundred. 

Your father, 

Thaddbub Castleman. 

Money? Well, what was the good of money, anyway? 
Wasn't the memory of that brass band worth more than 
twenty-five dollars? 

In that connection it was pleasant to recollect the 
Organized Departure (if you may call it so) of Poor Pat 
Casey, who was banished from Princeton by the heartless 
ukase of a purblind faculty, and, in addition, had been 
sentenced to Yale by his thoughtless parents. Pat's 
sorrow-laden classmates did not bum down any buildings 
or personally assault any member of the Areopagus, but 
they organized a funeral procession of silent protest to 
escort the unhappy Pat to the railroad station, and 
they employed the negro brass band for three good and 
sufficient reasons: 

First, it was the only band in town; second, it was by 
the act of God already in perpetual mourning; and third, 
though it could play only one tune, it happened to be a 
singularly appropriate tune — "Jesus Loves Even Me." 

Tad could not brag of his memory, but he could remem- 
ber some of his father's terse letters word for word. One 
in particular made an indelible impression. It ran thus: 

Dear Tad, — Aa you request, I have invited Major Buck, 
Miss Tranquillity, Cousin Boadicea (for chaperon), and my- 
self to be your guests at your Commencement. When we last 
met the Major called me aside and took particular pains to tell me 

*'that Tranquillity was a mere child, that she would probably 

[25] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

never marry, certainly not so long as he lived, and that when 
he was gone, if she felt she had to marry, he hoped to (xod it 
would be a real man and not a college man." 
What do you suppose he means? 

Your affectionate father, 

Castleuan, Sr. 

Confound fathers of girls, anyway! Poor Tranquillity! 
she had no mother, either. If she had Tad felt sure he 
would have liked her, and that she would have liked him, 
or at least understood his regard for her daughter. 

But why worry about anything? It was Senior vaca- 
tion! Do you realize what Senior vacation means? 
We are told that the Aztecs used to make human 
sacrifices to their gods, and they paid their deities the 
compliment of selecting their most beautiful and best; 
but before these favored ones were put to the knife they 
were fed with every dainty, surrounded with every luxury, 
every pleasure and joy, the Aztec mind could invent. 
WeD, Senior vacation is something like that, only the 
Aztecians knew they were going to be victims, and it 
must have interfered somewhat with their enjoyment at 
times. 

The Senior has all the best of it, because he is supremely 
and blissfully unconscious of the fact that the sacrificial 
priest is waiting for him with the bloody knife. 

It's got to be a sturdy, weD-developed care which can 
get in on a Senior vacation and rumple it up much. 
Why, even the campus spreads a special carpet for one's 
feet, and the hoar old elms dress up for it and renew their 
youth, and the air of the morning greets you with a per- 
fumed caress, and the nights are tender with inarticulate 
dreams, and all the world is young. OW Nassau calls 



PEACE AND QUIET 

to her sons who are about to go forth into life with her 
benediction, and they come to herysudnestle at herfeet and 
in her bosom, and she stretches her strong stone arms out 
to keep the cruel world back, and then Old North's heart 
bursts into song — ^the song of youth, strong and unbeaten, 
of youth unafraid and eager for battle. They call it 
Senior singing. It's Youth's Call to Life! It is supreme- 
ly and eternally beautiful. And when you know that out 
under the elms She is Wfdting, listening, her wonderful 
eyes turned to you, her hand waiting for yours — and her 
heart — ^you hope and believe! 

Well, of course things are not altogether perfect even 
then, for there is her darned old father. How on earth 
his mother could have ever liked the crabbed old major 
Tad couldn't make out. He lay awake at nights trying 
to think of little ways to flatter and please the major, 
but everything he did seemed to be wrong. And the old 
scoundrel never gave him a chance to be alone with Tran. 
The boy tried to think of something they couldn't all do 
together, and hit upon a canoe-ride on Carnegie Lake, 
and got his party down to the boat-house on the pretense 
of the beautiful view in the moonlight, and thei^ he had 
a sudden inspiraticm — a canoe-ride with Tran! The 
canoe — cmly large enough for two. Tran begged, and 
his father and Mrs. Getts shamed the major into giving 
his consent, and they promised to be bade soon. They 
were. 

Did you ever try to make love in a canoe? 

Fortunately Tran could swim some and Tad was an 
expert, so they got back, but when they presented them- 
selves to their horrified relatives Tad realized that if he 
had ever had a chance with the majof, it was gone. 

I«7l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

There was only one redeeming feature to the catastrophe 
— ^in spite of a beautiful gown ruined, it didn't seem to 
have hurt his chances any with the lady. Strange how 
these things affect different people differently. ^ 

What a pity the moonlight, music, love, and flowers 
couldn't have continued up to the very moment when 
the curtain dropped on the act! How sincerely he now 
regretted that he hadn't devoted a little more time to 
such infernal nuisances as lectures, recitations, etc. Here 
were his father, his cousin, Mrs. Getts, the major, and, 
above all. Tranquillity, come to see him graduate. What 
if he shouldn't graduate? He entertained no foolish il- 
lusions as to the practical value of a college diploma, but 
under the circumstances not to get one would be, to 
say the least, awkward, and there were disquieting rumors. 
It almost destroyed his pleasure in the joys of Commence- 
ment week, when the Seniors are the be-all and the end-all 
for the last time. 

The gang, his gang, shared his anxieties and distress, 
and when it was announced that the faculty had, after 
somewhat extended deliberation, decided to strain a 
point and let Thaddeus Castleman graduate with his 
class, the occasion seemed to demand a celebration. 

At all events that's what the gang thought, and they 
celebrated. 

If this celebration had taken place any other night — 
But wjiy go into that? His recollection of what happened 
that night was not very clear. After they had all gone 
he must have sat down at the table and fallen asleep over 
it, and dreamed. Of course it was a dream, but it was 
very vivid. 

There was a knock at his door, and when he said ^'Come 

[281 



PEACE AND QUIET 

in" a live diploma walked into his room. The uncanny 
thing had a square parchment body, with skinny, spider- 
like legs and arms, and a grotesque face sketched against 
the white background, and it had the college seal as a 
watch-fob. It winked and blinked at him in a most 
unpleasant way. He motioned to it to sit down, and 
was about to oflPer it some refreshment — ^it looked dry — 
when he noticed the disorder of the table and the room. 
Cards, remnants of food, empty bottles, cigarette stumps, 
were scattered about. The hypocritical old thing raised 
a skinny hand in pretended horror. He tried tp see if 
his name was on it in the proper place, but the wretched 
apparition had a sort of St. Vitus' dance, and he couldn't 
make it out. He tried to catch it and hold it still, but in 
spite of most unsubstantial legs it hopped about over 
tables and chairs in a most astonishing way, and always 
evaded him. The last he saw of it it stood in the open 
door, put its skinny thumb to the end of its skinny nose 
and wiggled it in a most insulting way, and before he 
could get to it to blacken its eye it was gone, and in its 
place stood — Tranquillity Buck. There was a look in 
those beautiful eyes he had never seen before — so hurt, 
so sorry, so infinitely sad. He tried to get to her. He 
couldn't move. He tried to speak to her, call her name, 
but his tongue was thick and his voice disappeared. He 
told himself it was only a hideous nightmare, but he 
suffered intensely. What a relief when a real hand shook 
him and a real voice said: 

"Say, old man, get a move on. The Class is already 
formed in front of Old North. Carter just happened to 
notice you weren't there." 

"Eh, what? What for?" 
8 I«9l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Why, you poor fool, to go to Alexander Hall and hear 
the chinK^hin and get our dips. Hurry up! So long. I 
got to get badlc or I'll miss the procession myself. Double 
quick for yours." 

Oh yes, he remembered now. Last night was the night 
before, and to-day was the day^ the day he was to get 
his diploma along with the others. Billy, who had just 
awakened him, had on his black silk gown and had his 
mortar-board in his hand, and was breathless — had evi- 
dently run all tiie way in order to tell him. The sun was 
shining into the room and the electric light was burning 
at the same time. It must be late, and the diplomas being 
handed out right now, perhaps, and Tran and everybody 
there to see him get his, and he was — ^here. Billy had said 
it was double quick for his. In a confused jumble and 
tumble of everything he got just one clear idea — ^it was 
to hurry. He found it wasn't easy to hurry. The room 
moved around and the chairs got in his way and his feet 
were full of lead and his head crackled and buzzed and 
different parts of his body wouldn't understand the tragic 
situation, how necessary it was for him to get there, 
be there. They would be given out — ^the dips — ^alpha- 
betically, and the C's would come eariy, and he wouldn't 
be there, and there'd be an awful pause and he and hb 
father and friends and classmates disgraced, axKi — oh, it 
was hideous. He got to the door and got out into the 
corridor, and {somehow got down the stairs and out into 
the morning air. 

The fresh air ought to have helped him, but everything 

was against him» somdliow. His legs bent and — oh, a 

sickening sense of helplessness came to him as be sat 

down on the stone steps. 

iwl 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"It*s long past the time, sir. Sha'n't I take Pedro 
back to the stable?" 

"What stable? Which? Oh, that you, Jimmy? I 
didn't get my morning ride before my breakfast — ^the 
breakfast I didn't get, did I?'* 

"No, sir." 

"You know, Jimmy, I think's mistake f'r fond parents 
flow college boys ponies and motor-cars 'n* things — spoils 
'em — don* you think so?" 

" Yes, sir. Shall I take him to the stable?" 

"No, Jiihmy, I got to hurry — ^no time t'splain. Gee!" 

Tad was inordinately fond of horses, a natural horse- 
man, and Pedro had become a pet and a trick horse under 
his tuition. 

Tad first apologized profusely to Pedro for keeping him 
waiting, and then touched the obedient brute on the knees, 
and when he knelt his master managed to get into the 
saddle, the horse got to his feet, and Tad, informing 
Jimmy that he would explain to him later, but that it 
was a life-and-death matter for him to get there, rode 
off in the direction of Alexander Hall. 

Arriving at Alexander Hall, and divining in a dim way 
that it was impossible to get off the horse now that he 
was on, and — But why prolong the agony? The arch- 
itect who designed Alexander Hall had made no provision 
for horses. 

However, Pedro didn't know that, and he succeeded 
in getting started up the stone steps, and was feeling 
exceedingly proud of his accomplishment, when the doors 
flew open, the great organ bellowed, and the crowd began 
to emerge. Tad, hatless, in evening clothes, and on 
Fedroi was a sight not soon forgotten, There wa3 bis 

181) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

father, the major, and Mrs. Getts; but he only saw Tran 
— ^her amazement, her horror, and then the look he saw 
in the dream. The shock of it sobered him. 

But why linger over anything so painful? Of course 
Tad Castleman did not graduate with his class. Wasn't 
it rotten luck to have four beautiful years end like that? 
On any other night — well, it would have been an indis- 
cretion, a folly; but on that particular night — ^weU, it 
was a tragedy. What a diflFerence just a few hours 
make! 

He didn't try to speak to Tran before she left town. 
What could he say? But he did hang around the Prince- 
ton Inn to try to get a farewell glimpse of her, and when 
he saw her and her father and Mrs. Gretts about to get 
into one of the antediluvian hacks which rattle between 
the Inn and the railroad station, he forgot himself and 
went toward her and would have spoken to her and 
begged her to forgive him, but the major saw him first 
and stepped between and gave him a broad, cold back. 

It did the trick. He stood helpless and vacant while 
they drove away, not seeing anything, and then he sank 
down on a chair on the veranda and suffered. It was a 
new experience to suflFer, really suflFer. It's only when 
we're very young we suffer unbearably. 

When we're older we philosophize, arrive at a perspec- 
tive, get acquainted with sorrow, and find her not such 
a bad sort, after all. A man in the Paris Morgue once 
told me that suicides are mostly young. 

How long Tad sat there, shriveled up in his own re- 
morse, he didn't know. It seemed long enough for youth 
to pass and old age to come. He was aware that some 
one touched him, and, looking up, he saw a bell-hop, and 

[32] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the boy handed him a small package wrapped m tissue- 
paper and tied with a tiny ribbon. 

"For me?" 

"Yes, sir.'* The bell-boy disappeared. 

He didn't open it for a time, and when he did he felt 
that it was some one else doing it, some one he didn't 
know, and that it didn't matter, that nothing would ever 
matter again. 

It was a small photograph, and on the back of it in a 
feminine hand was written: 

Remember, always remember — / believe in you! 

Tran. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE day following the equestrian feat Tad and his 
silent father were at the small railroad station at 
Princeton, standing apart, watching the farewell 
fireworks, for the new graduates devote a lot of energy 
to the task of leaving Princeton. Instead of entering the 
cars by steps and doors made and provided, the former 
Seniors were loading the passenger-coaches through the 
windows, without regard to the size of the individual or 
the size of the window. It was a noisy, good-natured 
mob. Suddenly, to the supreme astonishment of the 
Castlemans, they saw a little old man who looked like a 
cross between an English sheep-dog and a country under- 
taker, caught up in the whirlpool, and, before they or 
the victim realized what was being done to him, they saw 
him raised above the heads of the crowd and ignominiously 
chucked through a window into the coach, to the cheers 
and laughter of the multitude. It was Uncle Hank. 

Now I don*t like to pitch Uncle Hank into the story 
in this unceremonious way, for he is deserving of dis- 
tinguished consideration, not so much because he was 
Tad*s uncle on the maternal side, but because Uncle 
Hank was rich, in a parochial way. His relations were not 
enthusiastic over the way Mr. Kellerman had amassed 
his loot, but there were certain comforting things about 

[34] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

it, for it was real and he couldn't take it with him when 
he was called to go up and give an accounting. He was 
without wife or children, and so his remaining relatives 
devoted to Uncle Hank's resources a consideration they 
would scarcely have wasted on Uncle Hank himself. 

What would he do with his wealth? He had never 
displayed any interest in philanthropy or charity; had 
never been known to give anything away; regarded 
libraries as a curse and education as a national calamity, 
so no one had thought to invite him to Tad's Commence- 
ment. No one supposed for a moment that he would 
come, but that was one of the interesting things about 
Uncle Hank. You never could tell what he would do. 

When Castleman, Sr., and Tad had overtaken the 
catapulted victim on the crowded train they found him 
uninjured and very chatty. 

"Yes, yes," he volunteered. "Saved me the exertion 
of climbing in. I'm all right. I'm very much impressed. 
Tad. I never thought much of our educational institu- 
tions before, but I see I was wrong, quite wrong. When 
I saw what four years of hard work had done for you and 
that educated horse — ^that's a very cultivated, highly 
intelligent beast, Tad! Princeton has done a lot for him, 
too! As I say, I have been very much impressed. I'm 
thinking of leaving my money to Princeton. What do 
you think of the idea?" 

Tad was on the point of replying that he would like an 
endowed professorship in the new equine school, but a 
look at his father's face persuaded him to humble silence. 

"Well, and what are we going to do with these gifts 
so expensively and laboriously cultivated, eh?'* 

The question was addressed to Castleman, Sr, 

[S5] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

'*Is Tad going to save the nation as a statesman, or 
is he going into the ministry?" 

"I had hoped Tad would go into law or medicine, but 
I guess he will go to work" (law and medicine not being 
regarded as work by the financier). "I shall try to per- 
suade my head clerk to give him a job. Hereafter he will 
have to live on what he earns." 

"Good Lord!" ejaculated Uncle Hank in frank dismay. 

The clerkship in the house of Castleman, Sr., it may 
as well be admitted, was a joke from the start. It would 
have taken m<:H*e than twice his first month's salary to 
buy the clothes he had on when he sat down to his desk 
to begin a business career. The derision of the head 
clerk and his fellow-clerks was all but audible. The 
experiment didn't last long. It couldn't. One day his 
father came into the room and found Tad with his feet 
up on the desk, smoking a cigarette and reading a news- 
paper. It was a very interesting article, so interesting 
he was unaware of the parental presence. The head-lines 
ran something like this: 

MADERO HERE BUYING ARMS! 



HIS AGENTS WILL BEAR WATCHING! 



And in the body of the article the writer professed to 
have seen suspicious persons in the vicinity of Kellerman's 
Arsenal of Second-hand Arms and Ordnance up on the 
Hudson. 

As Tad looked up from his paper he became aware that 

he was being discharged, ignominiously discharged by 

136] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the head of the house. He was asked to come to the 
oflSce to get the money, if any, due him. 

"It's no use, dad," he said to his father, "I wouldn't 
be any good at this in a thousand years. I'm awfully 
sorry for you. You've done all you could for me, more 
than you ought. I don't want to be a burden on you. I 
want you to do for me just one thing more, and that's all 
I'll ever ask. Let me go my own way, and — ^give me a 
letter to Uncle Hank." 

Then and there the unhappy father wrote with his own 
hand the following letter: 

Mt dear Hank, — ^Tad seems to think you could possibly find 
something he could do. If there is any such thing, for God's 
sake get it for him. So far as I can see the boy is absolutely 
worthless. 

Yours distractedly, 

T. Castleican. 

Uncle Hank's place of business was on a small island 
tucked away in a secluded backwater of the Hudson. 
By day it looked as dead as the exterior of a city ware- 
house. It was sometimes a busy place at night. 

Tad didn't run the risk of sending in his name to his 
uncle. He sent a message to the effect that a gentleman 
must see him personally on very important business. 

Uncle Hank's face, when he looked up and saw who the 
gentleman on important business was, almost got away 
from him. 

Tad enjoyed his frank discomfort. " Is this Mr. Keller- 
man?" he asked, with a straight face. 

"Yes, sir," came back Uncle Hank. "And what can 
I do for you, sir?" 

(37) 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"I have a letter of introduction to you, sir." 

Uncle Hank opened it and read it aloud with consider- 
able appreciation, not to say gusto. "Yes, yes," he 
murmured. "'Absolutely worthless!' I suppose that's 
true?" 

Yes, sir." 

I only deal in second-hand weapons, not second-hand 
people, and my goods, though damaged occasionally, are 
not absolutely worthless. Good night, sir." 

As he got to the door Tad turned and said, "Give me 
a chance. Uncle Hank, won't you?" 

"Yes," said a soft, melodious voice, "why not?" 

And Tad was aware that two men emerged from the 
shadows of the background in the none too brightly 
lighted oflSce. 

The man who spoke held out a friendly hand to Tad. 

His uncle, somewhat flustered, started to introduce 
the strangers by obviously fictitious names. 

"No, no," said the man with the big, gentle eyes and 
the soft voice. "No, no. Why not the truth? I like this 
young man. I like him very much. Do I impress you 
favorably?" he asked of Tad in the most winning way. 

Tad smiled. Smiling was one of the best things he did. 
The two men liked each other at sight. The softly spoken 
man added: 

"Let me introduce to you my friend. El Sefior Don 
General Enrique Galboa. My name is Madero." 

In the months that followed this interview it was natural 
that young Castleman, with an innate love of adventure, 
should fall under the influence of that enthusiast, dreamer, 
and idealist. 

The man who is going to do things is always so much 

(88] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

more impressive than the man who is actually doing or 
trying to do them. Promising to do things offends almost 
nobody. Doing them offends everybody, even the 
beneficiaries. 

Madero flattered the youngster with his confidence, 
and, to do him justice, had no deliberate intention of in- 
volving the lad in his perilous enterprises, but it was 
obvious that Tad could be of service to The Cause in a 
perfectly safe and easy way. 

Could he manage a yacht? Yes, his Uncle Hank 
vouched for the fact that his nephew could do anything 
useless and expensive. Well, he was a rich man's son. 
Would it not be easy for him to appear as a principal in 
the purchase of a designated vessel, bring the same up 
the river, incidentally drop anchor some night unexpected- 
ly at Uncle Hank's back door, and pay his worthy uncle 
a short visit? All this was very easy and very simple. 
Here he would meet a rich Central American (Enrique 
Galboa), to whom he would be able to sell the yacht at 
a small advance, and who would relieve him of any 
further responsibility in the matter. 

Would he do that? His eyes danced. Why, he'd do 
that just for the fun of the thing! 

As his friend had predicted, it was all safe and easy 

until the vessel was loaded to the guards with Uncle 

Hank's merchandise and the rich man's son was about 

to step ashore, when things not prearranged began to 

happen. It was understood that Galboa would take 

charge of the yacht when she was ready to sail, but the 

boatman who was to take Tad ashore brought him a 

frantic message from Madero that Galboa had been 

forcibly detained, that the authorities were even then on 

[891 



PEACE AND QUIET 

their way to seize the yacht, and, for the love of all the 
saints, to cut and run for it, get to sea, without the loss 
of a moment, and remember what this meant to The 
Cause and to his devoted friend. 

Fortunately for his friend's cargo, it was a night made 
on purpose for desperate occasions. It seemed as if some 
gigantic hand kept on scattering over the face of the 
waters an unending mesh of smothering mist, impene- 
trable nets closing in and down on the unwary. 

Tad didn't stop to decide. In fact, he was doing it 
before he knew it. It was the old lure; his old friends, 
the water sprites, calling to him from the river. 

How in the name of all that's reckless and foolhardy 
he managed to get down the Hudson, scud through the 
crowded traflSc of the Upper Bay, dash through the Nar- 
rows and get out into the open without smashing or being 
smashed, only the Divinity that protects fools and mad- 
men will ever be able to tell. Perhaps the water sprites 
know. 

And during the long, uneventful days of his journey 
down the coast it did not occur to him that he was a 
lawbreaker; it seemed to him that somehow he had come 
into his own, and that his own had received him. The 
glad waves threw up their arms to welcome him. His 
soul answered to the caress of the wild wind like an 
leoUan harp. The sun was shining and his heart was free. 
Smuggling? It was a glorious new game with the zest 
of danger and romance and adventure. He thrilled to 
the joy of it! 

The messenger who came with the warning brought 
also instructions as to how to go and where to land, and 
Madero promised to meet him at the place appointed. 

140] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

It seemed that his navigator knew the way. Evidently 
is was not the first time he had made the trip, but he 
expressed the opinion that the all- water route was getting 
to be too dangerous and must soon be abandoned. 

The voyage down to the Gulf of Mexico was a romp for 
Tad, all too soon ended. They drew down into the coast 
where Texas meets Tamaulipas, and sought a quiet cove 
to discharge their cargo through the surf. They waited 
cautiously to see the prearranged signal before dropping 
anchor, and then Tad went ashore. 

His welcome from Madero, Galboa, and the military 
stajff was enough to turn his head. He was their illustrious 
and distinguished friend, their beloved comrade in arms 
with an unconquerable soul, and the deliverer of their 
country. Mexico would remember him in the glorious 
day of her triumph. And the Latins deliver these 
fantasies with a sincerity that is most convincing. In 
fact, they believe them themselves at the moment. 

It was the first cargo of essentials which had come 
through in some time, and though Tad was not aware of 
having had much to do with it, the success of the venture 
was laid to his prescience and daring. He found being a 
hero was first-rate fun. He was invited to share the 
chief's quarters and treated like un bienhechor. 

He was lolling in front of the camp-fire, smoking and 
dreaming of the original of the small photograph, when 
Madero approached him and handed him a newspaper 
with the remark: 

" I thought you would rather be alone when you received 
this." The paper was old, torn, and soiled, but he could 
read it by the firelight. It announced in a brief, per- 
functory way the failure of the well-known brokerage 

141 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

house of Castleman & Co., and the sudden death of 
Thaddeus Castleman, Sr., presumably due to business 
worries. 

Life had been so interesting since he had escaped from 
the thraldom of a desk that Tad had lost all count of 
time. 

It was a great blow to the boy. Such a contingency had 
never entered his thought. He knew nothing of his 
father's business, had never been advised or consulted in 
regard to it. His father had been most indulgent, and 
there was a genuine if undemonstrative affection between 
the two, and the thought that his father had passed 
through such trouble alone, had died alone and been 
biuied alone, hurt him cruelly. He couldn't perhaps have 
helped it, but if he had only been there! He wondered, 
too, with bitter regret, if his failure to graduate had been 
part of the burden which had crushed the old man. He 
realized for the first time what sort of a life his father had 
lived, and he bitterly reproached himself that he had not 
found some way to break through the elder man's reserve 
and make him know how much he had been beloved by 
his son. 

Alas, when these impulses come too late! 

Suddenly he was conscious of his own loneliness, in a 
foreign land, among strangers. 

Out of the night came a hand that was laid gently on 
his shoulder, and a low, sweet voice that said: 

"You won't forget that you always have a friend while 
I live," and Madero walked away and left him to his 
grief. 

That night he did not sleep, and when the day came 

he wandered ^bout umid the strenuous activities of thQ 

(4«) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

camp like one in a dream, only conscious that every one 
was considerate and gracious. 

When night came again he became aware that camp 
was broken, that horses were saddled and bridled, and 
that armed men were about to move out into the future. 
He was sitting apart, wondering where he would break 
into life, when he was aware that Madero was standing 
by his side. 

"My friend," said the leader, "I do not know what 
are your plans. Whatever you do, wherever you go, my 
heart will go with you, but I will tell you what is in my 
thought. 

"Come with me! Once your own great country stood 
in need of high and generous spirits, and they came to 
her. Who knows? Perhaps you are to be Mexico's 
Lafayette? Who knows?" 

And before Tad could even smile the dark-eyed en- 
thusiast laid a saber across the knees of the young man. 
It seemed to Tad as if his friend must have just taken it 
oflP the wall of his father's library, where it had beckoned 
to him through all the years of his youth. 

"This is an heu-loom in my family. I know you will 
bear it nobly. For myself, I never carry a weapon and 
never will wear even a soldier's uniform, for I bring to 
my distracted country peace, not a sword." 

And so Capt Thaddeus Castleman rode away into the 
land of adventure blithely, joyously. Military titles grow 
overnight in these tropical countries, as witness the fol- 
lowing, written an incredibly short time after the fore- 
going: 

Deab Tran, — ^I can't stand it any longer. I must pretend 

that some one is interested in me. Father, as you know, is 

[431 



PEACE AND QUIET 

gone, and unless you care a little no one cares. Even if you 
have forgotten me, don't tell me so, for I think only of you, 
and I must believe you think aometimes of me. 

As you will see, I'm writing from the National Palace, City 
of Mexico. Already I'm a colonel. Next week I'll be a gen- 
eral or a fancy corpse. Madero calls me the Mexican Lafayette. 
You can imagine how popular that makes me with the rest of 
the bunch. Things are popping here. I'd do a quick sneak, 
only Madero trusts me, and, between you and me, I'm afraid 
he's up against it. In fact, I know he is. If Madero falls — 
well, don't expect to hear further from 

Yours adoringly, 

Tad. 

Remember my every thought is of you. 



CHAPTER V 

LIKE every other country, Mexico has always been 
divided into two great political parties — ^the Ins 
^ and Outs, the Outs fighting to get in, and the Ins 
fighting to stay in. In biology there are certain low forms 
of life which seem to multiply by division. Even so is it 
with the political cell; only in Mexico the germ divides 
and multiplies with greater rapidity and diversity than 
in any other part of the known world. 

Only once in modem times has Mexico known pea^e or 
comparative peace, under the beneficent despotism (if 
there is such a thing) of Porfirio Diaz. For twenty-five 
or thirty years this remarkable man thought only of 
Mexico in terms of Diaz and of Diaz in terms of Mexico, 
and he never allowed any one to think in different terms. 
It was his proud boast on leaving office: 

"I am the first President of Mexico who ever left office 
and left any money in the treasury.** 

Just before Madero entered the City of Mexico in 
triumph a strange thing happened — ^Mexico shuddered. 
An earthquake shook the ancient dty^ killing over three 
hundred people — an evil omen! 

**I will have perfect peace throughout Mexico within 

ninety days," he is reported to have said. "Mexico will 

now have a real republic, a real democracy for the first 
4 [45] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

time in her history. The people will be free, and there 
will be lasting peace." 

Lasting peace! Since Diaz ceased to reign Mexico has 
had some eight or nine rulers or alleged rulers, one presi- 
dent lasting all of twenty-six minutes. Madero had now 
been two years President and still no sign of that lasting 
peace. 

Events had moved witK tragic swiftness, too, in the 
career of the "Young Mexican Lafayette," for Madero*s 
favor had made his position impossible. 

One day at the race-course Tad approached a group 
of Mexican oflScers who were chatting and laughing. 
They deliberately turned their backs upon him and 
moved away, all but one, Gren. Enrique Galboa. It was 
a public insidt of the gravest nature, and its significance 
was not lost upon the victim. 

"Ah, me General," he said to the latter, laughing 
easily. "You are the bravest man in Mexico. You do 
not run from me. I salute you." 

The little Mexican dandy, with a genius for profanity, 
shrugged his shoulders and raised his handsome eyes to 
heaven with comic despair. 

" Ees the jealousy for the foreigner, you know? Ees natu- 
ral, but pass away, and then your service to The Cause!" 

"No, no. No one can string me about Mexican grati- 
tude, Ceneral. That insult goes past me right up to the 
President. See here, you're his friend, as I am. Why 
don't you make him see it?" 

"See what, sefior?" 

"Why, that he can't win, that he's played and lost, 
that he's surrounded with treachery, that — No, I don't 
want any flowers." 

[461 



PEACE AND QUIET 

This he said curtly to a young woman who had ap- 
proached and mutely oflFered her wares, but, seeing the 
look of swift disappointment, he added, quickly: 

"Wait a minute. Yes, I do. Why, of course. What 
am I thinking of? Business bad, eh?'* 

"Si, sefior." 

"Same with me. This business of being Mexico's 
Young Lafayette is a frost. How much for the lot? All 
right. Keep the change. General, you've got to have one. 
It's on me. No, sefiorita, I don't wear flowers. Oh, well, 
if you're going to pin it on me, why, of course. No, keep 
the money. Some of it is for the boutonni^re; most of it 
is just for being pretty. You tell her. General. You 
can make it sound better." 

Afterward he remembered that as the yoimg woman 
pinned the flower to his coat, he thought she had tried to 
whisper something to him — ^his back was to Enrique — 
but whether it was just some commonplace of gratitude 
or not it was impossible to tell, for at that moment 
General Aggrimonte came up with a beautiful woman on 
his arm and, bowing to Castleman, said: 

"El Coronel, permit me the very great honor to intro- 
duce you to one of your greatest admirers, Sefiora De La 
Garza." 

Tad bowed profoundly to a strikingly handsome woman 
in the prime of life. It was evident that the sefiora was 
in mourning, but fashionable mourning, and becoming 
mourning; in fact, a Paris creation in mourning. 

"It is quite true," she said with dangerous candor. "I 
have long wanted to meet the — " 

He put out his hand to stop her. "I shall hope to 
struggle toward the sefiora's good opinion, and I make 

147] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

only one stipulation for my good behavior — ^that she 
will never allude to me as Mexico's Young Lafayette." 

She laughed joyously, almost caressingly, as she took 
his arm and walked with him to a quiet seat, where the 
music of the band came to them in soft ripples as they 
talked. 

The sefiora*s story was well known in Mexico. One 
of Madero's generals had shot her husband, whether in 
self-defense, as he claimed, or in cold blood, no one will 
ever know. At all events, Madero was not strong enough 
to break his officer, and the investigation was, as usuiJ, 
perfimctory. The President had done his best to make 
all the reparation in his power to the dead man's kin; 
had loaded the sefiora's brother with honors and emolu- 
ments; and it was understood that a reconciliation had 
been eflFected, and that the De Garzas were strong sup- 
porters of the Madero regime. 

Tad oflFered her a cigarette. 

There are not many women who know how to smoke. 
Sefiora De La Garza knew how. Her treatment of a 
cigarette was a poem on the refinements of coquetry. 
They, or rather she, didn't talk politics; they, or rather 
she, talked Him. It was done delicately, and with deadly 
cleverness. Tad was human, and it is difficult for any 
mere man not to believe that he is something quite out 
of the ordinary when it is so evident to a fascinating 
woman. 

Is it the vanity of the miJe, or is it his chivalry? 

Mexican women frequently have beautiful skins, so 
we are told. Quien sabe ? Who knows? Apparently no 
Mexican lady feels dressed until she has put at least a 
quarter of an inch of powder upon a substantial f pun(lAtiQD 



PEACE AND QUIET 

of glycerine. To appear in public in a bare face would 
seem to be almost indecent. Sefiora. De La Garza was 
in one respect a most extraordinary woman. She had the 
courage to defy the laws of the Medes, Persians, Mexicans, 
and her own sex, and show a clean face to the world. 
Perhaps she had treacherously concluded that the opinion 
of men was of more importance to her than the tyranny 
of fashion. Perhaps some one who knew had told her 
that she had a beautiful complexion, and she had the 
frankness to admit it. The soft, creamy olive of the 
Spaniard heightened, enlivened by the bronze red of the 
Indian combines to an exquisite result. Anyway, Sefiora 
De La Garza knew that North American men admire a 
naturally beautiful skin. 

When General Aggrimonte found them it was obvious 
that the interruption was as distasteful to the sefiora as 
to Tad. They rose. 

If Coronel Castleman had nothing better to do would he 
dine with her at the Caf6 Colon that night at eight-thirty? 

He was sure he hadn't, and she could be sure he would. 
And she drove away leaving him feeling that Mexico was 
not so impossible, after all. 

When a young gentleman of twenty-three falls under 
the influence of a beautiful and clever woman of thirty, 
and when that woman is dowered with agate eyes shot 
with inner fires of the opal, and has lustrous black hair 
touched with white from the wing of a passing dove, and 
when she knows just when and how to conceal and reveal 
her allurements through wreaths and garlands of tobacco 
incense, that young man's good angel ought to suffer from 
insomnia and be on the job twenty-four hours of every 
day. 

[49J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

then would she change her seat? There is the show of 
hesitation, but with some reluctance she sat with her 
back to the folding-<loors, which evidently communicated 
with another apartment. He sat where he could see those 
doors, and was vaguely conscious that something was 
going on behind them, something which generates and 
radiates suppressed excitement. Appealed to, she doesn't 
hear the low murmur of voices. Then suddenly languor 
and allurements vanished, and she sat reveided with the 
naked candor of a steel trap. 

"Somebody has told you,*' she said, quietly. 

The blood leaped into his face and he started to say» 
"What do you mean?'* but he was conscious that she had 
searched his mind so completely that pretense would be 
futile. 

"Well, we will show you that your interests are with 
us." 

And he could hear the buzz of an annunciator in the 
next room, and he rightly guessed she had touched a 
signal with her dainty boot beneath the table. 

The folding-doors opened, and a group of Mexican 
oflScers entered with the distinguished Gen. Alfredo 
Aggrimonte at their head. 

Tad rose and saluted his superior officer, but there was 
something in his eye or his attitude that arrested their 
advance. There was an awkward pause, broken by the 
sefiora. 

She came to him and put her hand on him with a gesture 
half of protection, half of possession, and with a soft smile 
said: 

"Our young friend has no illusions as to the feeble 
fanatic who dreams at the National Palace. He knows 

[52J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

that Mexico must be ruled by a warrior. He knows that 
Madero's sun has set. He also knows that we have gone 
too far to let a stranger and foreigner upset our plans for 
the redemption and the glory of Mexico. He is a soldier; 
he has proved his courage and capacity. You will give 
him absolute assurances of advancement and unlimited 
opportunities. He is poor. I have promised him wealth. 
Am I right?'' 

^'We will do that and more," said General Aggrimonte, 
quietly. 

"What do you say?" 

The silence became embarrassing before the American 
replied. 

"Madero has been very good to me. He has been my 
friend. I must have time to think this over.*' 

"Time?" and General Aggrimonte smiled cynically. 
"Time, you mean, to betray us. Arrest him!" 

Quick as a flash Tad drew the sefiora in front of his 
body and, backing to the open windows, threw a shot 
from an automatic gun into the dome of colored glass 
which lit the dining-table and the room with a soft radi- 
ance. In the confusion he slipped on to the balcony and 
dropped easily to the street. 

He hailed a passing taxicab, jumped into it, and offered 
the driver a bonus for speed to the National Palace. 

Perhaps it was already too late. As they neared the 
President's official residence he became aware of an un- 
usual movement of troops, and he saw at a glance that 
the personal following of General Aggrimonte was being 
substituted for the men who were supposed to be loyal 
to the President. In the confusion attendant upon the 

change. Tad was allowed, after some opposition, to enter 

153] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the Palace. He demanded instant audience with Mexico's 
ruler. The President had left strict orders not to be dis^ 
turbed. The delay was fatal. Maftana! To-morrow! 
Mafiana will be written on the tomb of Mexico. 

When at last he stood face to face with the dreamer, 
the latter heard his story without perturbation, with ap- 
parently small understanding of its significance. It was 
manifest that he felt himself a child of destiny. He felt 
so secure in the purity of his purpose, that any wide- 
spread disaffection seemed to him impossible. A few 
malcontents might make a hostile demonstration, but they 
would find themselves face to face with the People, and 
the real leaders of the people who were devoted to The 
Cause and to him. 

Tad looked at him with helpless amazement. He said: 
"You call me your friend. Am I? Have I proved it?" 

"Yes, many times." 

"All right. Fm going to tell you the truth. You haven't 
got a cause. You never had one. The People? Ninety 
per cent, of them can neither read nor write. All they 
want is three meals a day and nothing to do. You can 
save yourself. That's all you can save. Let me save 
you. Give me the word. I'll get out of here somehow! 
I'll get to my own men. They will follow me anywhere. 
I'll take this outfit of Aggrimonte's by surprise and wipe 
them out of existence. It's your only chance. Give me 
the word. It may be too late ten minutes from now, too 
late for both of us." 

"No, my son; you go. I have no right to your life, too. 
You go." 

"No, I couldn't do that, only, if I have to bump off 
I'd like to go handing out a few compliments to that 

154] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

bunch of assassins out there. I hate to be stood up 
against a wall and made to look foolish." 

Tad looked out of the window. It was already too late. 
He lit a cigarette, and Madero sat down to the routine 
of his desk. 

He rang a bell, but no one responded. "Would you 
mind seeing," he said to Tad, "if you can find His Ex- 
cellency, the Vice-President? I want to discuss this with 
him." 

Tad opened the door into the reception-room. It was 
filled with armed men, and the Vice-President, Pifio 
Saurez, pale but calm, was already a prisoner. There was 
a moment's hush as Tad stood in the doorway, then a 
second of hesitation. 

"Ask Sefior Madero to come here." 

It was General Aggrimonte who spoke. 

"The President is busy. You'll have to make an ap- 
pointment." Tad spoke casually. 

Madero turned at the sound of voices, rose, and entered 
the room filled with his enemies as calmly as if they had 
come to offer him the freedom of the city. 

The crowd shrank back before such simplicity and 
courage. 

There was a murmur of admiration. There was a 
moment when it seemed as if he had a chance, as he put 
out his hand with a gesture of benediction and began in 
a soft, musical voice: 

"My people, my brethren, I am always glad to see the 
children of our beloved country. You have come to 
me — 

"Caramba! What are you waiting for?" It was 
the SefLora De La Garza's brother that spoke, his 

[55] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

teeth showing between his white lips. "What are you 
waiting for?" 

And he drew his saber and advanced upk)n M adero» and 
would have cut him down where he stood, but a shot 
broke the tense stillness, and young De La Garza pitched 
forward at Madero's feet. There was a sudden panic, 
an involuntary gasp of surprise and horror, and then the 
crowd swarmed over Madero and Tad and the latter 
was disarmed, for it was his gun that had stopped the 
assassination of an unarmed man. 



CHAPTER VI 

IT was day — the day! 
Tad awoke with a start, in a tremble and a cold 
perspiration. 

What time was it? Was it the beginning or the end 
of the day? 

It was impossible to tell in the denatured light. 

His breath came hard and dry a3 he waited, waited with 
his eye fixed on the cell door, his ear strained to catch 
the sound of his jailer's approach. 

Only silence, cold, ominous silence! How long had he 
slept? 

Had the affair 'Mn the morning" been postponed, or 
was it just about to be? The strain was almost unbear- 
able. 

"General, what do you suppose — ** 

Galboa was gone, gone! 

Or was it Tad's mind that was going or gone? Was it 
a delusion? 

He got to his feet, every faculty alert, cruelly alert. 
Yes, he was gone. When did it happen? How did it 
happen? Had he made his escape? He couldn't escape. 
No one could go out except the way he came in. Had 
Galboa gone to meet his fate? Then why had they over- 
looked him? He had an appointment for t^^ isftine 
^air "in the morning.'* 

(57) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

He tried it from every conceivable angle, but there was 
only one answer — ^he was alone in the damnable place, 
alone! 

Even the most self-sufficient of us are horribly depend- 
ent. We do not know how much we need one another 
until something like this happens. He had never hated 
anybody, but perhaps some one even to hate might be 
a luxury — a human being to see, talk to, hear in this 
living tomb. He had an unspeakable sense of helplessness, 
desolation, desertion. 

Poor Antonio CortezI He knew now how Antonio felt 
when he had begged Castleman to come to see him shot, 
just to be present. One doesn't like to even die alone. 
And Tad had gone, endured the horrible experience, know- 
ing that in some curious way he was bringing comfort to 
a human being facing death. 

We are so dependent. If there wasn't a God we should 
have to invent one, a "Being Not Ourselves'* to cry out 
to, to talk to, to pray to. 

Well, he had had a sleep, thank Grod! and was stronger, 
and he would need his strength, for if he must face the 
firing-squad he would show them that he belonged to a 
superior race, a race that was above them and beyond 
them, and that despised them — ^the swine! 

Then he suffered a reaction. The cold, slimy sweat of 
the place penetrated to his bones. His limbs ached and 
his whole body cried out against the cruelty of it, and he 
was conscious of being supremely wretched. How much 
time had elapsed since he fell asleep? He could only 
guess. Hunger was his only guide. He had internal 
evidence that the catering at San Juan d'Ulloa was a bit 
careless at times. Mexicans being used to living on pretty 

[58] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

much nothing axe not so inconvenienced by it. He was 
unpleasantly hungry. 

And so Galboa was gone. His mind would come back 
to that. 

Why had he gone without a word? K not friends, 
they were comrades in misfortime. K the general had 
gone out to the wall, it was strange he hadn't said good- 
by. Tad must have been deep in sleep not to have heard 
anything, or they must have been very quiet and very 
considerate. Somehow he found it hard to associate that 
word with the face of his jailer, that animal face which 
had grinned with horrible pleasure at the thought of his 
being shot in the morning. 

Enrique Galboa? He liked Galboa, just somehow 
missed being friends with him. Perhaps it was because 
the Mexican didn't know how to take or didn't altogether 
understand his silly moods. People who are forever guy- 
ing, as we call it, seem to cultivate a facility for putting 
a rude finger on raw spots. It doesn't add to their popu- 
larity. Tad was fairly conscious of his shortcomings. 
Perhaps that was the explanation of the indefinable some- 
thing which always stood between him and Enrique, for 
he admired the general in many ways — he was, he knew, 
brave, mentally alert, keen, clever, and with charming 
manners, and that flattering deference to the other man's 
point of view which is so irresistible, and when he swore — 
well, it made one think of the Pyramids and Niagara 
Falls, and other wwld wonders supremely great. 

And Galboa was gone. 

His mind began to go back over their acquaintance in 
search of some due or answer to the riddle. 

In the wholesale arrests which had followed the fall of 

[59] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Madero and his assassination, Enrique had been gathered 
in, too. They had faced the same expeditious court 
martial, and had received the same sentence, and hap- 
pened to be thrust into the same cell. Galboa had 
emerged either to his fate or to freedom. Perhaps they 
had made up their minds that shooting was too good for 
the "murderer'* of the "patriot" De La Garza. He was 
to be left to the slow tortures of thirst and starvation. As 
his eyes became adjusted to the muddy light Tad saw 
something just within the door of his cell. It proved to 
be a tin filled with water, which he drank with horrid 
greed, and a dish of sloppy com gruel, cold and forbidding, 
and of which he ate sparingly and with a sense of revolt 
and disgust. 

Suddenly his heart stood still. The door of the cell 
was groaning on its hinges. His time had come. Well, 
better the firing-squad than a prolonged enjoyment of the 
hospitality of San Juan d'Ulloa. He was ready. He 
thought he detected a crude sneer on the animal face of 
the jailer, who beckoned him to follow. 

He asked about Enrique, but the man pretended he 
didn't understand, only shrugged his heavy shoulders, 
and grinned. He seemed to get a lot of fun out of his 
job. 

As they left the somber pile Tad was conscious how 
beautiful the world was, and how dear life was. What 
a joy to breathe the sweet, clean air and receive ihe bene- 
diction of the sun! And that seemed odd, for these little 
affairs are usually contrived at daybreak or with the 
dying day. His bewilderment was increased when Ae 
jailer handed him over to an orderly and a guard who 
conducted him to the great gate on the west side, where 

[60] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

they took a boat and were rowed to a pier near the Cus- 
toms-House wharf. Here they disembarked, and, as 
quietly as possible an4 through side streets, made their 
way to the Comandancia Militar on the Ave. de la 
Independencia. Tad's bewilderment was increased when 
an orderly conducted him to an anteroom in the cuartel. 

While he waited sounds came through the door opposite 
that suggested voices in rather heated colloquy; tiien 
there was silence; then an orderly entered and beckoned 
to Tad to follow. As he entered the comandante's 
office he was allowed to stand for some minutes without 
his existence being noted. Then the officer turned from 
his desk and Tad was face to face with General Aggri- 
monte, the courtly, the ornate, the distinguished General 
Aggrimonte. 

"Let the prisoner sit down,'' he said. 

Tad took the offered chair, feeling that the natural 
ferocity of the cold and implacable soldier was always 
plus when he was unusually polite. 

"We have long suffered from the Yankee genius for 
meddling," he said. "The time has come to teach your 
coimtrymen once for all to mind their own business. If 
I had my way you would be shot in front of the cathedral, 
in the City of Mexico, and at high noon. Unfortunately 
there are other and more timid counsels. So you are to 
be executed as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. 
For it seems you have friends at Washington." 

He paused and scrutinized the prisoner's face closely. 

"Friends?" 

Tad's surprise was genuine and unassumed. 

"Yes, it seems you have a way of interesting women. 

Sometimes that is an advantage, sometimes a disadvan- 
6 [61] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

tage. Now there is Sefiora De La Garza. You would 
naturally think, would you not, that she would want 
satisfaction upon the murderer of her brother? Such is 
the perversity of women that she has interested herself 
in your behalf." ' 

"Indeed?" 

"Yes, that is an instance where it is not to your ad- 
vantage." 

Tad looked into the sinister face, and he almost smiled 
into the undisguised malice of it, but he only said: 

"You said, 'friends' in Washington?" 

"Yes, I fancy it is a woman. At all events, you have 
suddenly assmned such importance that the school- 
teacher in the White House has sent to me in your behalf 
one of his personal or impersonal representatives — one of 
those recently invented diplomatic creatures who both 
have and have not authority to misrepresent their Gov- 
ernment. They have foimd in some way that you have 
disappeared from the City of Mexico. They insist on 
the pleasure of talking with you. I do not believe there 
is any such person as the man they are looking for, but 
I have graciously given them permission to open every 
cell in the prison of San Juan d'UUoa. And now, if you 
will excuse me, I will join them in the search." 

"Thank you. General. Could I borrow a cigarette? I 
might be able to return the compliment some day." 

"Certainly." 

What a luxury to sit on a chair, in a room, breathe 
clean air, and smoke a cigarette! 

When Aggrimonte returned, some hours later, there was 
a peculiar look on his inscrutable face. 

"They did not find you, did they, eh? Now, sefior, as 



PEACE AND QUIET 

a special favor, though you do not deserve it, I shall 
allow you the distinction of a private execution, and a 
private grave — ^as soon as it is dark. It is already getting 
late. Till then accept my compliments." And the 
general bowed with grave coiulesy. 

For once in his life Tad was without a reply. He was 
not listening to the speaker. He was thinking. 

"Friends in Washington?" What did that mean? 
Did he have a chance? Even if the American authorities 
knew of his predicament, even if they were disposed to 
aid him, what could they do? In Mexico they execute 
prisoners on trumped-up charges, or no charges at all, 
and he had killed a Mexican officer; there was no deny- 
ing that. He felt justified in his own mind, but even 
with a jury of his own countrymen he knew what the 
verdict would be: "Guilty of not minding his own busi- 
ness, and served him right!" and no quarrel with that, 
either. There was no danger of offending American sen- 
sibilities in his case. 

The general had intimated that a woman was involved 
in the effort to assist him. What did he mean by that? 
It was just a peevish guess by the disgruntled admirer of 
SeHora De La Garza. 

He felt some one touch him on the shoulder. It was 
the orderly, who motioned for him to follow. As he was 
being conducted across a courtyard he noticed two men 
about to leave it, and one of them seemed to point in 
his direction. Tad only got a glimpse of him, but it 
looked strangely like Enrique Galboa. 

But how could it be? If Enrique had escaped, surely 
he would put a comfortable distance between himself and 
San Juan d'Ulloa. 

[68] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

As Tad entered a cell in the barracks he was sorry for 
the delay. It would have been better to go in Ae sun, 
with head up and a smile, but these hours of waiting in 
the sickening odors of the place were horribly depressing. 
He spent them with her — ^with Tran, with the little pho- 
tograph in his hand, pressed to his lips, held close to his 
heart. 

"Remember, always remember — I believe in you." 

He had not justified that trust, but who could be 
worthy of it? He thought, yes, he felt sure that there 
would be one human being sorry, one who would grieve 
for him, and that reflection gave him courage and 
comfort, and when the hour came he rose up with the 
spirit of his race in him and went forth to meet the 
inevitable. 

As he emerged from the prison into the kmdly night 
under the gentle stars he felt a peculiar supersensual 
elation, remote from himself. He seemed outside of him- 
self looking at himself, and he told the man he saw to 
meet his fate like a man, worthy of the woman who be- 
lieved in him. Nothing mattered now except that. 

He was only dimly conscious of what was happening 
until he saw himself in a garden, or was it a cemetery? 
Anyway, there were flowers, and he was glad of that. 
After the sickening stenches of the prison the perfumed air 
was indescribably caressing. Then he saw a row of candles, 
their gentle flames swaying softly in the still air, and he 
knew that a man stood in front of them so that his 
body would be outlined clearly against the light. And 
then he saw himself face a group of dark, ghostly figures, 
and the smell of the newly turned earth came up to his 
nostrils, and he looked down to see an open trench. An 

[64] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

oflScer came to the man and offered him a handkerchief, 
which the man declined with thanks. And then he saw 
the man fold his arms, and heard him say: ''All right. 
Go on." 

A voice murmured: ^^Hombre perdidol** ("A lost man!*'); 
and a voice answered: *'Estera mejor con Dios** ("He'll 
be better off with God"). 

There was a movement among the ghostly figures. 
Why didn't it come — ^the end? The waiting was agony 
unspeakable — ^an excess of cruelty. He found he was 
getting angry, and he didn't want to go with a curse upon 
his lips. There was a murmur of voices; a lantern shone 
in the dark. 

He tJiought a man approached the man standing in 
front of the new-made grave and spoke to him, and the 
words sounded like, "You are free." Of course that 
couldn't be. It was a delusion. He was light-headed, or 
perhaps the thing was all over and this was in the — ^Be- 
yond. The voice said it again, and then the voice offered 
him a drink from a flask, which he declined. He felt 
that he must cling to what faculties were left, if any were 
left. 

"Free?" And then he saw himself led to a gate in 
the wall, and saw it unlocked and opened. 

**Ley de JuegOy eh?" he heard himself say. "No, not 
for me! You encourage the prisoner to escape and shoot 
him in the back. You'll shoot me from the front.** 

"You are free. My orders!" 

"From whom?" 

"El Sefior Don General Alfredo Aggrimonte, coman- 
dante." 

"All right, you get me a pass signed by General Aggri- 

[65] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

monte, for if I go out of here I'll be shot on sight. Get 
me a signed pass, or I won't stir a foot." 

And he saw himself sit down calmly and wait, and 
knew that if he hadn't sat down he would have fallen 
down, and that his enemies must not see. 

To his intense surprise a messenger returned after what 
seemed an eternity and brought an official paper. He read 
it by the light of the lantern, and it was signed General 
Aggrimonte. It was a miracle, but then it seemed to be 
real. 

It was a dream; he was sure of that; but then dreams 
have to go their limit, to the time when you awaken. 
So, he took the paper and asked the man, who seemed to 
be an officer, for a cigarette. The man gave it to him, 
then offered him his hand, and he heard something about 
a brave man, and he walked through the open gate and 
found himself in a dark alley. 

He slipped to one side and flattened himself against the 
wall until he heard the gate close with a click. So it 
wasn't the old story: "Shot while attempting to escape!" 

He sank down by the wall until his breath was coming 
slow and regular. Then he gathered himself together. 
It wasn't any use trying to understand it, but here he 
was in the open and he could look up and see the stars. 
He had no definite plans or piurposes exc^t that he must 
get away. 

The alley was narrow and unlighted. He felt his way 
along toward what seemed the reflection of lights in the 
sky, and he came at last upon a lighted street. He 
noted, with a sense of relief, that it seemed unfrequented. 
As he went on he seemed to be getting nearer to the life of 
the city. If he could only reach the United States C<^ul- 

[66] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ate! He was passing a cantina, or pulqueria, rejoicing in 
the name of El Infiemito (Little Hell), when a group of 
ragged, half-naked soldiers lurched from its doors. 

Possibly the most national thing in Mexico outside of 
the Mesdcans is the cactus. Armed, unconquerable, 
flourishing everywhere on plain and plateau in hundreds 
of varieties, living nobly on adversity, blossoming in regal 
splendor in the midst of stark desolation, a blessing — 
drink-giving to the man perishing with thirst in the 
desert, fruit-bearing to the poor, roofing the peon's house, 
furnishing him with rope, twine, thread, needles, vinegar, 
molasses. A curse — slaying its thousands and its tens 
of thousands, for the malignant maguey opens its heart 
to the consuming passion of the sun god, and puts its 
roots into "deep down gulfs of liquid fire," so that if you 
cut these desert devils to the heart they bleed a color- 
less liquid that makes men mad and starts them on the 
way to living the Song of Hate. 

Now it was pay-day with these warrior children, a day 
dishonored more frequently in the breach than the ob- 
servance, and they had begun their evening in El In- 
fiemito amiably enough with pulque, an ill-smelling but 
fairly innocent form of amusement, as Mexican drinks 
go, being light in alcohol. Then had arisen among these 
emotional children a mighty argument as to the respec- 
tive merits of various national beverages. Some favored 
aguardente, a violent, incendiary version of brandy; some 
favored mescal and tequila, which are murderous gun- 
men of the gin family. Now the proof of the potation 
is the drinking thereof. The argument grew and expanded 
until Little Hell seemed too small to hold it. It required 
all outdoors, 

[67] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

As they spilled or decanted from the cantina it was 
Tad's misfortune to intervene. In avoiding some he 
managed to get in the way of others, and was roundly 
cursed for being all kinds of unspeakable and unprintable 
things. He tried to murmur an apology and move on, 
but the sons of Mars were not to be denied, and when on 
closer inspection they discovered that he was the hated 
Gringo, the long-nourished hate flamed up in their eyes 
gleaming with the homicidal fires of tequila, and they 
made a ring about him like famished wolves. Their rage 
and disgust, when nothing of value was to be found on 
his person, was almost inarticulate. 

They would have destroyed him then and there, but 
they were in some awe of their non-commissioned oflScer, 
and he was in mind to replenish his own scanty wardrobe 
and had no mind to have his loot soiled with blood and 
dirt. He waved the others back and ordered Tad to 
take oflF his coat, which the victim obediently did; his 
shoes were likewise requisitioned, the son of satan appro- 
priating both to his own use, and his comrades scrambling 
for their leader's cast-oflFs. 

How far the denudition would have proceeded it is 
difficult to say, but for the arrival upon the scene of an 
armed policeman, who, seeing business going on, had no 
wish to be left out. To the new-comer, who had the 
advantage of being sober. Tad appealed for protection, 
exhibiting his pass, which would have had no effect upon 
the drunken infantrymen, and which he had managed to 
conceal until the advent of the roundsman. 

The policeman, though he could not read, recognized 
its official character and explained it to the soldiers, who 
refused to be impressed by it and were loath to lose their 

[681 



PEACE AND QUIET 

prey. Tlieir leader snatched it from the gendarme's 
hands, and, somebody supplying a ready match, he lit a 
cigarette with it in the face of the guardian of the peace. 
The latter, seeing his authority jQouted, called to some of 
his comrades who were passing, and Tad stayed not to the 
conclusion of the argument, but fled into the night. 

Blindly he ran, without knowing or caring where, until 
he felt that he was far enough from his tormentors to sit 
on the gutter and take a long breath. Then his brain be- 
gan to function again. The loss of his pass filled him 
with dismay. With that in his possession he had a 
chance, but now — ^his only hope lay in reaching the 
shelter of the Consulate. He had no acquaintance with 
the city of Vera Cruz, and he felt physically incapable of 
stumbling around, helplessly groping through the night, 
running the risk of re-arrest at every step. He must 
reach the protection of his country's flag, but how? 

A cab crawled by him. If he had only dared to hail 
it; but he had no money and he was desperately conscious 
of his appearance! 

That was a protection in a way. Without hat or coat 
or shoes, unkempt, unshaven, and with a prison pallor, 
sitting on the gutter, he was a part of his environment. 
A gentleman is shockingly close to the wastrel in appear- 
ance. Clothes, a bath, and a shave make the difference. 
He realized that he belonged to the shadows of the night 
and the sins of the city. No one would notice or care, 
unless he asked too many questions. Still, he must do 
something. 

The next cab that passed he beckoned to the driver, 
but the Jehu turned his head slowly, gave him one look, 
and never even tightened rein. That look of abysmal 

[69] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

contempt sapped his courage, but as the next one passed 
he stood up and stopped him with all the show of authority 
he could muster, and, before the astonished cabby could 
interfere, took his seat in the venerable victoria and said 
bravely: 

"To the United SUtes Consulate!" 

The man laughed, took off his hat, made the lad a pro- 
found bow, and said: "Illustrious sir! Fare in advance. '* 

" Vl\ get you five times the fare if you'll take me there." 

''Vayar' ("Get out"). 

"For the love of God, take me there," Tad pleaded, 
desperately. 

The cochero drew back his whip to slash the insolent 
vagabond in the face. 

"Wait a minute, you!" said a thick-set stranger with 
a fog-horn voice. "I'm on my way to the Consulate. 
There's your fare in advance. Now get on, if your moth- 
eaten beast can move out of a walk." 

And the man took his seat in the cab beside Tad, and 
the cochero, making sure of the reality of his fare, tiuned 
and moved off back into the city, from which Tad had 
fled. 

"And I'll double your fare if you'll double your pace," 
said the man in an irritated way. 

Tad could only turn and look, too dazed and too amazed 
to speak, except to gasp, "God bless you!" 

"That's all right," the other said. , "Don't talk!" 
Pointing to the back of their driver, "Ears a foot long!" 

It was obvious that the stranger was an American, too, 
and a seafaring man. 

Before they had gone any distance it was evident that 
something was afoot. Crowds were gathering and moving 

[70] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

in the same direction, and men were gesticulating and 
there were angry murmurs, and the groups soon coagu- 
lated into an angry and dangerous mob, and there were 
the familiar cries of: 

"Death to the Yankees! Death to the Gringos!" 
The stranger seemed to know his Vera Cruz, and di- 
rected the driver into such streets as would keep them 
free of the crowd, until they came suddenly upon the 
house of the consul, before which a motley rabble was 
indulging in the luxury of insults and threats. 

A totally inadequate force of local police was making 
half-hearted efforts to keep the crowd back, and on the 
heels of one of these sporadic movements the cab-driver 
seized his opportunity and jammed his vehicle dose up 
to the entrance, and immediately demanded his extra 
fares. At the same time a Mexican vaquero, seeing the 
same opportunity, forced his horse close into the same 
opening with a whoop, and, swirling his leather lariette, 
threw it well over the American flag which wasflying above, 
and, breaking the staff, brought the flag down amid the 
delighted cheers of the multitude, who had stopped all 
personal efforts to watch the intended humilitaion of the 
hated ensign. Just as the horseman grasped the flag 
and was in the act of spitting upon it, one brawny hand 
reached up from the victoria, caught his arm, and another 
hand from the same place grasped the flag. A sturdy 
seafaring person was seen to jerk the hadendado out of his 
saddle and throw him clean across the victoria into the 
howling mob of his countrymen, and the flag remained 
in the other hand, the hand of Tad Castleman. There 
was a small sortie from the doors of the beleaguered Con- 
sulate, and, without knowing just how, the occupants of 

[711 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the cab found themselves swept, dragged, hauled, and 
mauled into the house, and the door slammed and bolted. 

Some time afterward Tad found himself invited to take 
a drink of whisky and water, which he did, and then he 
heard some one say that a company of Mexican regulars 
had arrived in time to disperse the mob, and then some- 
body said something about the flag and shook him by 
the handy and he asked to see it and they brought it to 
him, and he must have been kind of weak and hysterical, 
for he cried. 

An American who has only seen the Stars and Stripes 
in his own country on a holiday, or in a parade, cannot 
possibly know what it means to a hunted man in a foreign 
land. 



CHAPTER Vn 

OUR consular service has not escaped criticism. 
Perhaps it is as inefficient, as imbecile, as corrupt 
as we say it is — and then perhaps it isn't. Per- 
haps it's because we expect $5 goods for $2.98; perhaps 
it is the impossible and occasionally corrupt people the 
consul has to deal with. At any rate, there was only one 
opinion as to the United States consul at Vera Cruz, 
and that opinion was favorable. Almost everybody had 
a good word to say for Horatio Telemachus Wadleigh. 
The name would have ruined the career of an ordinary 
man, but "dear old H. T.," as he was affectionately 
called, was no ordinary man. "H. T." had a small in- 
come outside of his inadequate salary to enable him to 
live like a gentleman under ungentlemanly conditions; 
but the real secret of his success lay in the fact that he 
really liked the Latins, their elaborate courtesy, their 
emotion, their point of view, and when it came to putting 
off until to-morrow what you wouldn't even think of 
doing until a week after next, why, he could out-Mex- 
ican the Mexicans. H. T. was a Grand Master of 
the Sons of Rest, the comer-stone of whose noble inac- 
tivities is the golden text: "What's the use of hiury- 
in'? There's to-morrow, and it ain't tetched [touched] 

yet." 

1731 



PEACE AND QUIET 

H. T. was not only a graduate of the Manana school, 
but also of Princeton, and so he and Tad were pab from 
the start. When the young man had sufficiently recov- 
ered from his experiences and the vanity of hurrying had 
been contemplated from every conceivable angle, H. T. 
delivered himself of the following: 

"Of course, my boy, I*d like to keep you here for the 
rest of your natural life and mine, just to amuse me, but 
the Huertistas are in control, and, as you know, they've 
got it in for you, and I wouldn't want to guarantee to 
pull you out of San Juan a second time." 

"You've never told me how you did it the first time 
yet." 

"Well, my lad, when you've been in the Grovemment 
service as long as I have you will learn that the first rule 
of the game is to keep your mouth shut." 

"How did you know?" 

"Didn't. Got my instructions from Washington." 

"How did they know, or care?" 

"Haven't you any friends in Washington?" 

"Not that I know of." 

"No lady friends?" 

"My cousin, Mrs. Boadicea Getts, widow of an army 
officer; but can't imagine Mrs. Getts bothering about 



me. 



"No lady friends in the United States?" 

"Oh yes, I know a girl in West Point." And Tad 
blushed furiously. "Daughter of the commandant," he 
added. "Doesn't live in Washington." 

"Might have been transferred, you know. I guess 
you're warm; in fact, you look hot," beamed old H. T. 
"Correspond with the lady?" 

[74] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"No; oh yes, I wrote her one letter some time ago — 
got no r^ly." 

"Well, if you'll promise me not to ask another ques- 
tion I'll read you an extract from a letter received by me." 

And the consul got from his files a letter and read the 
following: 

'* Something must be done or the President and I will both 
have to quit playing golf and indeed move out of Washington, 
and we're not prepared to do either, for this young woman 
(pretty, too, which complicates matters!), this young woman 
knows us both, has the run at Chevy Chase, and she is hound- 
ing our lives about this young fool Castleman; so get him!" 

H. T. paused and looked over the sheet. "Know the 
young fool?" 

"You bet she's pretty. Pretty? Say, H. T., that's a 
feeble, flabby word. Tell me some more." 

"That '11 be about all for you." 

"But how in the world did you work it with old Aggri- 
monte? He's got it in for me to the nth degree." 

"You know Mexico, and you're a pretty fair guesser. 
You were bought and paid for!" 

" Aggi is a rich man." 

"Not is, was. The general is one of the largest land- 
owners or land-grabbers in Mexico; but his possessions 
are all up in the north, up on the border! The other side 
hold all that country now. That's why he's here; and 
our neighbors dislike pretty much everything American 
except American money. They respect that, and — ^well, 
there you are! And I hazard the guess, though it's only 
a guess, that the general thought he could rearrest you 
before long and have both you and the money, See? 
Well, there's where we must disappoint him." 

175] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"It must have cost somebody something.*' 

"And you feel that you were not worth it? WeU, 
maybe you weren't. Only now, like true Yankees, we 
must get our money's worth — get you out of the country 
as soon as possible." 

"Just one question more. How did General Gsdboa 
get out of San Jaun?" 

"That I don't know. All I know is that we couldn't 
have put this through without him. It was Galboa who 
told us where you were, and it was Gsdboa who recog- 
nized you in the yard just as we were leaving the prison 
after General Aggrimonte had expressed the profound 
conviction that you did not exist. 

"I have reason to believe that Washington sets some 
store by Galboa, and certainly the general made good in 
your case. Now, my son, the climate of Vera Cruz is 
nothing to brag of, and it is especially unhealthy for you. 
Of course every one in town knows you are here in hiding, 
and this house is under constant espionage, anyway, so 
it's going to be some trick to get you past the dead-line. 

"Ah, here he is now." And the consul turned and 
indicated a square-rigged man who hove in view and 
bulked large in the modest dimensions of the consular 
office. "I think you two have met before. Captain 
Webster, this is Mr. Castleman." 

"Well, Captain," said Tad, with a smile, as his own 
hand of generous proportions was swallowed up in the 
capacious paw of the mariner, "I guess I won't forget 
you or your name as long as I live. I want to say, H. T., 
that I have seen some flying tackles in my day, but the 
one the captain pulled on our expectorating friend on 
flag-day was the prettiest thing in that line I have ever 

[76J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

glimpsed. I'll bet El Sefior Don Expectorate will not 
regain the use of his arm for several precious moments, 
and I rejoice to believe that his impromptu flying wedge 
killed and maimed a large nimiber of your leading citizens. 
Captain, I'm for you." 

The captain was not exactly talkative, and his broad, 
square face was as innocent of expression as a bulkhead. 
He lifted his right crane and let it fall ponderously, as 
much as to say, "The incident is closed," and then he 
took a careful survey of the office furniture, and, steering 
clear of the chairs, none of which had been constructed 
on the super-dreadnought plan, dropped anchor at a sofa, 
which strained uneasily at its moorings as he came to 
rest. 

"Now listen. Tad, my son," said the consul. "Here's 
the stuff to stain your face, arms, and legs, and here's 
your outfit, cotton shirt, drawers, and straw sombrero. 
Thus equipped you are expected to look Uke a native son. 
Now I've persuaded Captain Webster, who is a stubborn 
brute, if there ever was one, to accept police protection 
to the dock. He claims he does not need police protec- 
tion, and he doesn't, but he accepts it for your sake." 

The captain lifted his left crane and let it fall slowly. 
It was meant to express disgust mingled with resignation. 

"Now, in addition to the local police, I will personally 

escort the tcaptain and give him the protection of my 

prowess and my office, because, though he may not be in 

actusd danger, he is not at present in high favor with our 

populace. Now, as we emerge from the Consulate and 

are met by the local constabulary, we hope we will draw 

a crowd. I shall have my servants and some of my 

friends come to the door with us, as if to see us safely 
6 177] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

on our way. In this little group you will slip out and at 
once mingle with the crowd. Here is a brick. As soon 
as you can conveniently mix with your brother peons, 
turn and hurl said brick through my windows, and then 
run, run like the devil right past us to the dock. You'll 
find that after you have thrown a rock through the Con- 
sulate windows all Vera Cruz will cover and protect your 
flight. At the dock you will find a fast steam-launch 
ready to take you and the captain out to his freighter — 
the Albuquerque^ and, once on the Albuquerque, the whole 
Mexican navy couldn't take you away from the captain.*' 

The captain raised his right crane and let it come down 
with a sweep. It was meant to indicate that that was 
a conservative statement of the case. 

"You will have to owe the captain for your passage 
to New York, and you may at your earliest convenience 
return to me this precious ten-dollar bill as soon as you 
have made your triumphal entry with it into Manhattan." 

H. T. knew his parishioners, and his plan worked with 
smoothness and celerity up to the time Tad reached the 
docks. Here, imhappily, he was intercepted by a police- 
man who had not had the pleasiu*e of seeing his popular 
hit at the expense of the Consulate, and essayed to stop 
him on general principles. The cop was soon tipped off, 
and was about to let his compatriot go, but on closer 
inspection he recognized Tad as the holder of the pass 
from General Aggrimonte, the unfortunate pass which 
had led him mto an altercation with some infantrymen 
some nights ago, and from which he and his comrades had 
emerged much damaged both as to person and as to feel- 
ings. It was perfectly natiu^l that he should hold Tad 

personally to blame for his misfortunes, and he was in the 

[781 



PEACE AND QUIET 

act of reducing his prisoner to proper maceration and 
submission when the consul and Captain Webster came 
upon the animated scene. Tad had no mind to be taken 
back to San Juan, and he met his captor with a running 
start, manoeuvered him in the struggle to the water's edge, 
and forced him over, going with him. In they went with 
a splash and disappeared beneath the surface. 

Now, undoubtedly the Mexican has a native element, 
but it isn't water. Calculating every move. Tad filled his 
lungs with air as they went over, and then he took his 
adversary under — down, down, and kept him down, imtil 
he had him almost drowned. Then he gave his enemy 
the knee, shook himself free, and quickly came to the 
surface. As he rose the steam-launch was waiting for 
him, and the right crane and the left crane lifted him out 
of the water as easily as if he had been a baby. 

And it was a happy and grateful young man who stood 
on the deck of the Albugruergue and turned his back on 
turbulent Mexico and turned his face to God's country 
and to Her! 



PEACE AND QUIET 

clothes. I like the fluflpy things, the peekaboos, the lace 
unspeakables, and the almost effects; not classical, not 
even classy, mayhap, but I like 'em. Yom* get-up makes 
me want to address you as — ^Lady Chairwoman. I'll bet 
all the money I haven't got, and that's a lot, that no one 
ever caught you weeping on a male shoulder. You're too 
stuck up, too sure of your position, too self-conscious. 
The 'Leading Lady' style doesn't impress me, anyway. 
I guess I'm for the soubrettes. 

"Liberty Benightening the World, you're a grand old 
poseur! 

"Honest, old lady, you're a shine!" 

Being a imiversity man. Tad was addicted to Cubist 
English. 

"Captain would like to see you on the bridge, sir," said 
the cabin-boy. 

"All right. Captain," said Tad, as he stood alongside the 
big man; "I was just saying to friend Skirt over there^—" 

"Which?" said the big man, which was a long sentence 
for him. 

"Why, Miss Severity Snubbing the World! I was just 
telling her that she could keep the jewelry, but to please 
send me back my letters, as all was over between us. Little 
women for mine! I'll bet it's that way with you. If you 
ever marry, it '11 be a Mrs. Tom Thumb, or a Lilliputian — " 

Somebody, the pilot, perhaps, kicked him vigorously 
on the shins, and there was a curiously distressing silence, 
which nobody seemed able to break. 

Even the loquacious Captain Webster only mumbled, 
"Later!" 

Whatever he had in mind to say to Tad had evident- 
ly been side-tracked by something. 

[82] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

When they were alone together for a moment Tad 
didn't have to ask the pilot to. give him the key to the 
code. The way-shower broke loose with: 

"You poor fool, didn't you know that Webster — didn't 
you know?" 

"No/' 

"Well, he was, and it was a little womauy too,'^ 

"It was sure to be. It's the one best bet. Well?" 

"Well, she ran oflf with another man." 

This revelation had its sequence in a curious reaction. 
Instead of being overwhelmed by Captain Webster's mis- 
fortunes. Tad was made most illogically unhappy by re- 
flections of a personal nature. 

Then all little women were not necessarily true and 
faithful? 

The necessity for this admission came with a shock 
that was most upsetting to one's equanimity. Miss Tran- 
quillity Buck was a little woman, and there was no denying 
that she was adorable, but he had not seen her since the 
day when he had tried unsuccessfully to speak to her at 
the Princeton Inn. That was a long time ago. Naturally 
he was not Miss Buck's sole admirer, and naturally all 
sorts of disagreeable and dreadful possibilities might 
have happened. 

"Who knows," he told himself, with imhappy exaggera- 
tion, "who knows but she has a son with whiskers by 
this time? Why should a beautiful, accomplished, and 
fascinating little woman sit around and twirl her thumbs 
and waste her beautiful young life waiting for a fellow 
who has never made good at anything?" 

It is a tribute to his noble egotism that he had never 

before even thought of her as belonging to any one else. 

1881 



PEACE AND QUIET 



cc 



What do you expect?" he told himself, with scorn. 

Why should you imagine the prize of the universe will 
be waiting around for a fellow who hasn't money enough 
to buy a ready-made suit of clothes?'* And he neglected 
no thought or suggestion that would add to his supreme 
wretchedness. 

So when the Albuquerque came into her berth and gave 
up her treasures to the omnivorous greed of the great 
city. Tad, instead of making his triumphal entry with a 
straw sombrero, cotton drawers and shirt, and a capital 
of ten dollars, loafed about the big ship like a lost soul, 
about as imhappy as a perfectly healthy man can be. 

"Well, boy?" said the captain to him one day. 

"Captain Webster, if I'm in the way — '* 

A big paw fell on his arm with a heavy restraint. 

" Well, old man, I can't tell you how I feel. All right, I 
won't try." 

"No friends?" 

"I've got an uncle up the Hudson, and a cousin in 
Washington. I wouldn't like to ask either of them for 
car fare. I'd like to get to Washington. My knowledge 
of the Mexican situation might, you know — any way, 
Uke thousands of others, I think my grateful country 
owes me a job. Do you see?" 

In reply Tad felt the right-hand derrick move him 
along the deck and finally deposit him in the captain's 
cabin, and withdraw with the laconic cbmmand: 

"Pit up!" 

At first he was puzzled, and then he understood, and 
he sat down. There was a peculiar glaze came over his 
eyes and he was glad that he was alone. 

Everybody on the ship from the cook to the captain 

[841 



PEACE AND QUIET 

had laid out his best, and it was for him to choose. 
Tad grinned, at the same time that a suspicious moisture 
dimmed his eyes. It was a motley assortment of gar- 
ments. He knew at once that he was up against it. He 
knew that he would emerge from the captain's room in 
a fair way to frighten little children, and he knew, too, 
that it was quite impossible to offend his friends by de- 
clining their generosity. It was Bismarck, I believe, 
who said that, ^* Constitutional government is a series of 
compromises.'* Well, when Tad emerged he looked like 
Bismarck's idea of constitutional government. Nobody's 
coat was big enough for him except the captain's, and 
that was over-generous, not to say prodigal. After some 
hesitation and experiment he settled on the chief engineer's 
trousers, which were much too short in the leg and gro- 
tesquely over-developed in the region of the waist. The 
second ofiScer had contributed a vest which was an 
atrocity, a chromatic horror, but it was a fine fit and 
was evidently the apple of its owner's eye. The cook 
contributed a derby hat of the vintage of our forefathers, 
perhaps a bit later than 1776. When Tad emerged from 
the cabin he found the ship's company assembled for the 
dress parade and inspection. 

The distressing general effect was lost in the gratifica- 
tion of the individual contributors, and the occasion was 
voted an inunense success. As Tad left the good ship 
AUmquerque^ he thanked God that it was a dull, dark, 
misty day. Captain Webster went with him to the dock, 
and here, surreptitiously (if a derrick could ever do any- 
thing surreptitiously), poked seventy-five dollars at him. 

The mariner gave him a belt on the shoulder that 
would have annoyed an ox, and hastened back to his ship 

1851 



PEACE AND QUIET 

after having delivered himself of a long speech, beginning 
and ending with: 

"Shut up." 

So Tad, clothed, though not in his right mind, and with 
eighty-five dollars as capital (ten of it the loan of H. T.)» 
faced the hospitable city of New York and his grateful 
country. 

Now, a& a rule, the prodigal's return is a sad affair 
unless he comes laden with spdils, or unless his father 
discovers him a long way off and gets to him before the 
friends and neighbors send him around to the back door 
to the cold potato and the woodpile. We have taken 
pains to impress upon our children that if they need or 
want anything in this world they must carefully conceal 
that fact; that to have is to get, and next to the import 
tance of having is to appear to have. That's fundamental. 
The first thing to do with eighty-five dollars in the United 
States is to conceal the fact that you have it; the next 
is to make it look like eight thousand five hundred or 
more. 

The first thing Tad did with his capital was to take it 
to the fashionable emporium of Mr. Cutty's in Forty- 
fifth Street just off Fifth Avenue, and expend seventy-five 
dollars of it for trunk and traveling-bag. It was a seri- 
ous question of economic policy whether it would not be 
better to spend the whole seventy-five for just the trunk. 
However, it seemed wiser to play it both ways. Fortu- 
nately the piu*chase of ballast required more of finesse 
and time than money. Then he went to a telegraph- 
office and sent a wire to the chief clerk of the New Willard, 
Washington, D. C, asking or rather ordering that dig* 
nitary to reserve for Thaddeus Castleman, Esq.^ the best 

[861 



PEACE AND QUIET 

suite in the house. Having purchased hb ticket and 
sleeper for the midnight train to Washington, he had time 
and little else on his hands. 

If there had been a Zeppelin plying between New York 
and Washington he certainly wouldn't have waited for 
that train. Walking up and down Broadway he had time 
to speculate on the kind of man Miss Tranquillity Buck 
would be likely to marry in the long interval since she 
had written on that photograph, and it gave him a most 
unpleasant impression of New York. It had changed, 
yes, but certainly not for the better. It was more flam- 
boyant, more ostentatious, more vulgar — ^just sound and 
fury signifying nothing. In fact, as he strolled up Aurora 
Borealis Avenue, he became more and more irritated with 
the big city. Finally he stopped a particularly over- 
dressed, underdone youth with a preceding nose and a 
receding chin, smd blandly said to him: 

"I beg your pardon, is this New York?'* 

The receding chin dropped open with fishlike incredu- 
lity to say, indignantly, "It is." 

"Oh," said Tad, "I didn't know. It looked to me like 
a bad imitation of Coney Island. Thank you." And 
as he passed on the fish-mouthed one murmured: 

"Nut!" 

"When Mrs. Webster ran away from a real man," Tad 
murmured to himself, "it was with a human catfish like 
that little dty monster. Little women do strange things 
sometimes." 

He had walked himself to exhaustion when he took 
the midnight train to the national capital, determined to 
find out as soon as possible whether little women were 
altogether true and beautiful or not. Being an over- 

[871 



PEACE AND QUIET 

healthy young man» he slept rather better than he had 
any right to under the circumstances. 

The following morning, as he drifted from the sleeper 
into the heterogeneous crowd that moved along the plat- 
form, he was suddenly conscious of two figures which 
struck him as strangely familiar. 

One of them looked like Senator Charlemagne Cactus, 
and the other like Gren. Enrique Galboa. Was it really 
Galboa? If so, what was he doing in Washington? For 
a moment he was lost in thought, but only for a mom^tit. 
He looked up to find himself being weighed, appraised, 
scrutinized with uncomfortable hesitation by the cabby. 
It would seem as if cabmen were singularly destitute of 
any real belief in human nature. 

Tad flushed with honest indignation, but fortunately 
just at the critical moment the porter trundled up a truly 
hothouse variety of trunk, which made an impression, 
and then Tad completed the confusion of the enemy by 
flashing a dollar-bill tip to the colored person. I am safe 
in saying that the dollar bill looked as large as an Ameri- 
can flag to the unhappy man who was parting with it; 
but the combination overcame the cabman's scruples and 
almost his sense of humor, though not quite, for he said 
with crude irony, as he was about to start: 

"The New Willard? You shure it ain't the Shore- 
ham?** 

Sure I'm sure it ain't the Shoreham. Get a move 






on. 

At the hotel the trunk, true to its open-sesame charm, 
delayed the faculties of the porter until the owner had 
got past his haughty and amazed incredulity and was 
well on his way to the entrance. 

[881 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Two ladies accompanied by an impressive young male 
person with a military bearing were emerging at the same 
time. As Tad stepped back to allow them to pass the 
yomiger woman gave a start and» with what sounded like 
a cry of joy, darted forward and threw herself upon his 
neck, thereby knocking off the cook's hat and doing no 
particular good to its Dutch colonial architecture. 

One thing was certain — ^Miss Tranquillity Buck was in 
Washington. Even Tad*s cousin, Mrs. (Jetts, who was 
with Miss Buck, succumbed to the contagion of the mo- 
ment and embraced and kissed him with fervor, and the 
young male impressive person shook his hand with kind- 
ness, even condescension. So far as the casual observer 
could see, it was a welcome any prodigal might be proud 
of, and yet mark the dipterus in the ointment. 

Yes, Miss Tranquillity Buck was in Washington, and 
for a fleeting moment in his arms, but where, oh, where 
the joy, the rapture naturally flowing from such a tran- 
scendent fact? Something was wrong, and you may have 
noticed that when something is wrong everything is 
wrong. 

After the donation party on the Albuquerque Tad had 
planned to steal into Washington incognito, like royalty, 
and remain in seclusion until he could supply hiipself 
with raiment which would put Solomon and the lily in 
the second class, or, if it did not measure up to this ideal, 
would at least enable him to appear like a human being. 
For a husky lover of the open Tad had a distinct weak- 
ness for clothes. 

On the way up from Mexico, having nothing else to 
do, he had devoted much thought to this first meeting 
with Her, He had elected himself cbmn4ftP p{ th^ ^m^ 

{891 



PEACE AND QUIET 

mittee on arrangements, and there was almost nothing 
about the crude informality and publicity of the real 
meeting that met with his approval. This garish al- 
fresco performance on the steps of a hotel in the disen- 
chantment of day, with peripatetic Washington looking 
on, and with the totaUy unnecessary participation of third 
and fourth parties — ^well, it was distinctly disappointing. 

Perhaps, if one stopped to think — ^but did one ever stop 
to think? — ^there were compensations: She was alive, 
thank God! rioting in glorious health, as beautiful, even 
more beautiful than ever, and it was perhaps a legitimate 
inference that little women sometimes remember the 
men they allow to love them, and that they are on occasion 
adorably impulsive, but even these subconscious reflec- 
tions were not altogether convincing, for her whole con- 
duct was so frankly spontaneous, so old-friendish, so 
sisteresque. It was disquieting. 

On the way up from Vera Cruz he had talked this all 
over with the wind-witches and the water-sprites, and 
they had enjoyed delightful discussions as to the various 
ways such a meeting would naturally take place: perhaps 
at a fairies' ball in the gossamer enchantments of an- 
other, an older and, of course, a wiser Lover's Lane; or 
would it be in some poet's magic garden of dreams? 
or in some gilded conservatory (that overworked con- 
servatory of novels and the stage) heavy with the amorous 
sighs of rare and beautiful flowers? or woidd it be out 
on the waste of murmuring waters under the dripping 
moon and the languorous stars? Always and everywhere 
it was to be to exquisite music, the throbbing ecsta^ of 
an Hungarian rhapsody. 

What an anti-climax! 

1^1 . 



PEACE AND QUIET 

And this young military person so impressed with him- 
self, with his ridiculous smug complacency. What was he 
doing, tagging around, thrusting his attentions on a woman 
who despised him, or ought to despise him? 

And Tranquillity's air of possession when she introduced 
the thing — ^he didn't get the name — ^and the odious per- 
son's pleased air of being possessed, his ^^nice-doggie" 
air, his "good-Kdo" smile! 

Whenever she spoke to him the possessed-one gave a 
fair imitation of wagging his tail. It was possible that 
Fido might be to her a faithful friend, but it was manifest 
to Tad that under no circumstances would he ever grow 
to like him. Yes, there was a fly in the ointment! 

Tad's favorite nightmare was that he was alone with 
Tran on some wind-swept cliffs or up in a balloon, and 
just ais he was about to snatch her to his heart she would 
turn with a wild, haunted look and exclaim, ^'Mr. Castle- 
man, you must let me introduce you to my husband^ Mr. 
Irvington S^head, of the Thirteenth Cavalry." 

So this was the meeting he had looked forward to with 
such yearning! Well, there were some things to be grate- 
ful for: In introducing the young male person Tranquillity 
had not used the nightmare word, husband, and he was 
truly grateful for the fact that he would never recover 
the cook's hat, for it had rolled down the hotel steps and 
under the wheels of an eight-cylinder car, going the way 
of many another hopeful visitor to Washington. 



CHAPTER IX 

BEFORE Tad could regain his composure Tran 
had dragged him into the hotel, rushed him up to 
her father, who was standing near, and pushed 
him at the astonished colonel with the rapturous cry: 

"Oh, dad. Tad's come home!" Her eyes were danc- 
ing, her voice quivering with excitement. **Aren*t you 
glad?" 

The colonel, surprised, flanked, and enfiladed, did his 
best to muster up a decent show of being glad, but before 
he could accomplish much in the way of reforming or 
reinforcing his scattered faculties his energetic daughter 
had moved the whole party over to the clerk's desk and 
had her father introducing Tad to Mr. Simmons, the 
head clerk, and recommending him to the good offices of 
that influential personage. Tad, minus the cook's hat, 
which had been a distinct challenge to fate, crushed 
himself close to the desk, hoping to hide his lower half 
with its unhappy architectural lines — ^the high-water 
effect below and the overflow above. 

The genial Mr. Simmons was glad to inform his friends 
that, though he hadn't the honor of knowing the dis- 
tinguished Mr. Castleman, he knew all about him and 
his wonderful career, and that one of the best suites had 
already been reserved for one whom the New Willard 



PEACE AND QUIET 

would be proud to have as a guest, and wouldn't they 
like to inspect the suite for themselves? 

The genial Mr. Simmons had never up to that moment 
heard of the distinguished Mr. Castleman, and had paid 
no attention to the telegram ordering rooms, but the 
genial Mr. Simmons was much quicker in readjusting 
himself to conditions than the colonel. 

Tad was glad the elevator was crowded, but he heard 
a laugh at his back just as the door closed, and though 
it was not intended for him, he felt it play up and down 
his spine Uke the hammer of a xylophone. 

The suite was all the most exacting could desire, unless 
one wanted the bridal chambers or the royal apartments, 
and Tad was busy explaining its beauties, hoping to keep 
their attention to the decorations, etc., when Tranquillity 
got a good, quiet, uninterrupted view for the first time 
of her hero*s sartorial equipment. Then the laugh that 
invaded the sedate elegance of the near-royal suite was 
full, frank, prolonged, and gathered impetus as it swept 
along. Everybody joined in except Tad, and he did his 
best. 

Unique, isn't it?'* he interjected, as soon as he could. 
Illustrates the old saying, 'Heaven save us from our 
friends!' Well, you see, when I left Vera Cruz I was in 
great luck to get away with a whole skin, and that's 
about all I did bring along. Of course, I had no chance 
even to buy a trunk until I reached New York, and these 
are the Sunday best of the boys on the good ship AUm- 
querque — God bless *em! — ^and I had to wear 'em or they'd 
have been offended. See? Wasn't it nice of them?" 

"Wasn't it?'* said Tran, gently, all the laughter gone. 
"I think they're beautiful now, quite beautiful, all ex- 
7 I»81 



« 



PEACE AND QUIET 

oept the vest» Tad, that waistcoat''! and she smiled gaily; 
*'it took a bit of friendship to wear that waistcoat." 

"I suppose it would have been better/* he said, "to 
wait over in New York and buy a lot of clothes and 
things like that, but I just felt that I had to get to Wash- 
ington — ^to see if cousin Bo here were still alive and — " 

"Me? Get outf said Mrs. Getts, shortly. "A lot of 
thought you gave to me/' 

"Honest, Bo." 

"WeU, Tad," said Tran, hastily, "loyalty is aU right, 
but that vest strikes me as cruel and unnecessary punish- 
ment, but we're not going to hold it up against you. 
Maybe you can live it down, and now that we have seen 
you comfortably settled, I guess we must be going — Oh, 
what a gaudy trunk!" she interpolated, as that magnif- 
icence made a noisy entrance with the porter. "I've 
always heard Mexico was a country of contrasts." As 
Tad flushed uncomfortably she hastened to add: "Oh, 
by the by, father would like to have you dine with us 
to-night." 

"Why, yes, yes, we shall expect you, of course," re- 
sponded the colonel, flustered, but recovering. 

Tad smiled eagerly at the prospect, and was on the 
point of accepting, but, getting a glimpse of himself in a 
pier-glass, he stammered, awkwardly: 

"I'm sorry, awfuUy sorry, but I have some important, 
most important business engagements for to-night, and — " 

"To-morrow night, then," suggested Miss Buck. 

"Won't you — can't you leave it open? I'm going to 

be very busy at first — ^just for a short time, and, if you'll 

let me, I'll take the liberty of telephoning and asking if I 

may come." 

[M] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Miss Tranquillity Buck's beautiful eyes examined his 
confusion with critical and cold disapproval. '^Yes/' 
she said, lightly. *'Well, father isn't going down on his 
knees to you, you know." 

Father looked startled at the thought of such a pro- 
ceeding. "We are living at the Arlington, when you 
get around to us. Till then.** 

She was going, hurt and angry, and this was to be the 
sorry end of their first meeting after all these years! 
Tad was vexed and tears trembled in her eyes. Fortu- 
nately at that troubled moment her gaze dropped to the 
level of the brilliant buttons on the flagrant waistcoat, 
and she murmured: 

"Oh, you vest!** 

Everybody laughed, and the visitors escaped under 
this segis, and he was really genuinely relieved when they 
were gone and he could sit down, draw a long breath, 
and review the situation. 

"For this, my son, was dead and Is alive again!** 

But our prodigal was to find it an exceedingly difficult 
matter to return from the dead and break back into the 
game of life. life never stops for the wounded or the 
fallen and has no place for the dead. 

Not only is no place made and provided for such re- 
entrance, but elaborate precautions have been taken 
against this species of burglary. Resurrection has been 
almost unanimously relegated to another world, and the 
dead must often wonder If it is really worth while to try 
to overcome this prejudice. Perhaps Tad wouldn't have 
tried but for her. Anyway, here he was back in his own 
world, and with one exception the consplraqy of silence 
was unmisti^k^ble. No one was out to meet him? No 

195] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

one cared. No one even knew. The very elegance of 
his surroundings was oppressive and filled him with 
apprehension, but — ^he suddenly became aware that he 
and his thoughts were not alone. It was no longer pos- 
sible to ignore the presence of the porter or the porter's 
ostentatious, almost devotional attentions to the Aladdin 
trunk. 

The tyranny of the tip has us all cowed. 

It took courage to refuse that mute but insistent ap- 
peal. There is no use trying to deceive the reader. It 
was courage bom of desperation, the kind that goes out 
to meet certain death because there is some one behind 
you with a magazine gun who will shoot you if you don't. 

Tad could not dismiss the bulky functionary, and he 
was afraid to stay in the same room with him. 

With a manner intended to look preoccupied, but 
which was all too obvious, he executed a strategic retreat 
to the bathroom, and pretended to engage in preparations 
for elaborate ablutions until he heard the door close 
upon the defeated enemy. Then he reconnoitered and, 
reassured, re-entered the parlor of the suite with a bold 
mien and what was left of his emergency funds. The 
porter's disapproval, however, lingered like an accusing 
presence in the room long after he was gone. At last Tad 
could sit down alone and take account of stock, and that 
was quickly done. 

He* had invaded Washington, and secured a position 
of advantage for further operations, but he was in a 
hostile country and absolutely cut off from any base of 
supplies. He had a right to be frightened, and he was. 

The reader will have guessed why Tad had felt com- 
pelled to refuse the colonel's invitation to dinner. 

IWI 



PEACE AND QUIET 

If *' apparel oft proclaims the man/' the want of it 
makes a noise beside which the publicity of the former 
is as a dying zephyr. It's an axiom that only the inde- 
pendently rich can afford to disdain clothes. Clothes 
were his first and immediate necessity. 

Reflections like these were cha^g one another through 
the vacant apartments of his mind when his telephone- 
bell rang, 

A reporter from the Washington Evening Moon would 
like to see Mr. Castleman. Mr. Castleman, with the 
merry sound of, "Oh, you vest!" still ringing in his ears, 
regretted that he was too busy to see any one. Would 
he speak with the reporter? Oh yes, he would do that. 

"Mr. Castleman?" 

"Yes." 

"I've been sent over by the Evening Moon to interview 
you." 

"Sorry. Just about to take a bath." 

"I'll come back in a couple of hours." 

"Sorry. Very busy. Just arrived, you know! A 
few days later perhaps — ^be very happy. Come back in a 
couple of weeks." 

"You're only good for to-day," urged the Moon man. 
"To-morrow you're cold." 

Tad got the impression of being present at his own wake. 

"I can talk to you while you bathe," persisted the re- 
porter. 

"No, you can't. Sorry, but you'll have to excuse me." 

"Can't. If you don't give me the interview I'll have 
to write one for you." 

"Go ahead!" 

It was a very thoughtful young man who occupied that 

[97] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

expensive suite the rest of the day, had his meals served 
in his rooms, and spent a large part of the night vainly 
trying to see through a stone wall. He slept late the 
f oUowing morning and was, in fact, awakened by the ring- 
ing of his telephone-bell, though he left no call. Would 
he speak with some old friends? 

Yes? Yes, this is Mr. Castleman. Who is this?" 
Mr. Hudspeth, representing Ball & Bell, the well- 
known haberdashers. We thought perhaps — Have you 
seen our advertisement in the hotel Guide? Well, it 
doesn't matter. We understood that you had expressed 
a desire — '* 

"No.'* 

"No? That's strange. I*d like to show you — May 
I? Oh, it's no trouble — ^an honor! So good of you! 
Delighted! Thank you." And Mr. Hudspeth rang off 
without waiting for permission to call and pay his respects. 

Again the telephone-bell rsmg. 

"Yes? Yes, this is Mr. Castleman." 

"Mr. Castleman, I have been asked by Congressman 
Goldfogle, a personal friend of yours, I think, to call on 
you, and — ** 

"Goldfogle? No, I don't know any Goldfogle." 

"Strange, but it isn't essential. May I come up? I 
represent Kuntz & Calder, Washington's most fashion- 
able tailors,and I'd like you to see — Oh,really wonderful 1 
May I have the honor?" 

"Wait a minute. I haven't had my breakfast yet." 

"Why, you let Ball & Bell's man go up. I won't detain 

you — only want to show you — ^the honor's mine. Thank 

you. Yes, I'll be right up." 

Tad was da2sed. What could be the meaning of this? 

[98] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

He was still in a mental haze when Mr. Hudspeth entered 
and begaa measuring him for a full line of shirts, giving 
himself an order for hats, canes, handkerchiefs, collars, 
socks, and pretty much everything a gentleman of taste 
and fashion might need who had been a long time away 
from the refinements of civilization. 

Mr. Hudspeth had done very well before Omgressman 
Goldfogle's emissary appeared and divided honors and 
Mr. Castleman with Mr. Hudspeth, measuring whatever 
of the victim Mr. Hudspeth was kind enough to release. 
Kuntz & Calder's energetic salesman gave that firm a 
large order for several suits of clothes of the latest cut 
and most expensive pattern, suitable for every emergency 
from a funeral to a wedding. 

During a brief lull in the conversation, though not in 
the proceedings. Tad was enabled to say: *'Do you mind, 
gentlemen, if I order a cup of coffee? I haven't had my 
breakfast yet." 

Kindly souls these! Hudspeth, to expedite matters, 
ordered the coffee for Mr. Castleman. 

There wasn't anything these genial, willing philan- 
thropists would not do for the distinguished visitor. 

Again the telephone began to ring, again Mr. Huds- 
peth flew to the breach. 

'*No, no, Mr. Castleman will see no tradespersons of 
any kind. Positively not. He has not breakfasted yet. 
Who? College-mate of Mr. Castleman's? What name? 
Janeway?" 

" Janeway?" Tad interjected. "Tell him to come up." 

"Mr. Castleman is good enough to say, tell the gentle- 
man to come up, yes." 

Classmate Janeway found Tad in negligee, making 

[001 



916964 



PEACE AND QUIET 

spasmodic and intermittent attacks upon a soft-boiled 
egg while being subjected to the conversation and manip- 
ulations of the two ambassadors of fashion. 

"Well, old boy," yelled the intruder, with the boister- 
ous enthusiasm of the college brand, and trying to pull 
Tad's arm out by the roots, "how are you?" 

"Meeting all comers as usual, as you can see." Then 
bending a suppliant gaze upon the two merchants. Tad 
pleaded: "Could you two gentlemen lend me my person 
and my room for a few moments? This is a classmate of 
mine, you understand?" 

Of course the two gentlemen quite understood, and how 
much time could Mr. Castleman allow them to fill his 
imperial orders? 

Mr. Castleman hinted that he was accustomed to get 
what he wanted when he wanted it, and that was usually 
at once and without delay, and if they couldn't — ^why — 

They hastened to assure him that clamorous Washing- 
ton must stand outside on the sidewalk while Mr. Castle- 
man's wishes were being wrought to fruition in the inner- 
most shrine. 

At the door the two gentlemen hesitated, looked at 
each other as if by conmion impulse and trade instinct, 
and then glanced uneasily at Mr. Janeway . Tad, divining 
the dangerous proximity of, "A customary deposit, please," 
hastily and all but rudely urged them through the door. 

"Jane, old boy," he exclaimed, turning to him with 
relief, "it's a joy to see some one who doesn't want to 
sell you something." 

"But, Tad, old man, I do want to sell you something. 
A man who has been through what you have ought to 
carry insurance — " 

[1001 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"Wait a minute. How do you know what I*ve been 
through?'* 

"Why, your interview in the Evening Moon.** 

"Oh yes, I'd forgotten that chap." 

"Haven't you seen it? Well, there's a copy; keep it! 
But, say, I don't want you to think I came here just to 
sell you insurance. In fact, I came principally to pay 
off an old debt." 

"Debt?" 

"Well, you may have forgotten it. I haven't. You 
remember that little poker party of ours in your rooms 
the night before Commencement?" 

"Yes, I remember enough of it, thank you! Well?" 

"Well, I quit owing you eighty-seven plunks, simoleons, 
drachmas! It's a bit late, without interest, and mayhap 
you do not need it; but there it is, so go to and annex it!" 
And he tossed a roll of bills on the table. 

"Well, old man," gasped Tad, after he could swallow, 
"I'm glad I had an egg. On an empty stomach I should 
have fainted." 

"Well, say, that's not very complimentary. I always 
paid my debts, didn't I? — ^when I could!" 

"I didn't mean it that way. And as to that insurance 

— of course a little later on I'll take a dray-load of it, 

but just now, as you can see, I haven't caught up yet, 

and my affairs — ^they're a bit tangled and it will take me 

a little time to straighten things out; and, yes — I think 

as you do, every man who contemplates matrimony 

ought to carry a car-load of accident insurance; and now 

I'm going to ask you to excuse me, as I must get on my 

clothes and keep an appointment with the Secretary of 

State and put 'em straight on the Mexican thing. 

lioij 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"No, sorry I can't dine with you to-night, but later. 
No, I'll call you up. Not at all. I don't know when IVc 
been so glad to see anybody ! Good-by. God bless you.** 

After Janeway had gone Tad fell against the door and 
rested limply for a moment. Then he approached the 
table, stirred the bills to see if they would disappear, then 
got a pillow, placed it before the fender of the hearth, 
placed the bills reverently on the pillow, got down on the 
floor, and touched his forehead to the floor three times 
before it. He was engaged in this interesting service 
of praise and thanksgiving when his telephone-bell rang. 

"Yes. Oh, say, please tell the clerk,— Say, please say 
I cannot see any more tradespeople to-day. Oh, pshaw! 
That you, Tran?** 

The tone slid from the cold smnmits of extreme aus- 
terity to the valleys flowing with milk and hon^. 

"Want a lawyer? Why, no, what for? libel suit? 
You're joking. A million dollars? I don't want a million 
dollars. Wouldn't know what to do with it. Whom am 
I to sue? The Washington Evening Moon? Why, no, I 
haven't read it. Of course I'll read it. Friend just left 
me a copy. Bad as that, eh? Dear, dear! Perhaps I 
ought to go over and give the man on the Moon a punch 
in the eye. If you feel all het up about it like that, per- 
haps I better send you over. I'll bet you'd make him 
eat his words. How am I? Pine! Everything coming 
my way! No, can't come over to dine to-night — ^not now, 
but soon! By-by! Love to father!" Then Thaddeus 
Castleman smiled and mused: " So I've got to sue the 
Evening Moon for a million dollars, eh? Well, Mr. Moon, 
perhaps I'd take less. Let's see." And he sat down in a 

beatific frame of mind prepared to enjoy even criminal libel. 

[lo«l 



CHAPTER X 

IT was easy to understand why the eloquent Mr. 
Hudspeth, Congressman Goldfogle's friend, and a large 
part of the citizens of Washington were ready and 
willing to sell Mr. Castleman everything he did and did 
not want. 

The artist from the Moon had certainly produced a 
readable article. He sketched the brief but brilliant 
career of Mr. Castleman as smuggler and soldier of for- 
tune, making him responsible not only for his own brave 
deeds, but also for many notable achievements performed 
by others. The gallant young adventurer who left his 
native coimtry penniless had returned to it, and the 
writer of the article found him occupying the most ex- 
pensive suite in the most exclusive and expensive hotel in 
Washington. The reporter gently stimulated his reader's 
curiosity as to where Mr. Castleman got it. Mexico was 
a wonderful coimtry, and many colossal f ortimes had been 
made and lost there in a short time. The rulers of Mexico 
seemed to regard the national treasury as a private oppor- 
tunity for themselves, their families, and their friends. 
Mr. Castleman was known to be a great favorite with the 
late executive. 

Mr. Castleman had narrowly and numerously escaped 
being shot, and had mysteriously escaped. Opinions 

[103] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

varied as to the sum or sums it must have required to 
purchase his freedom, and the name of the beautiful 
and unfortunate SefLora De La Garza was woven into the 
picture of desolation wrought by young Castleman in the 
hearts and homes of the women of Mexico. 

The reporter talked with Mr. Castleman at the hotel 
and f oimd him very simple and unspoiled in spite of his 
great wealth, etc. Tad would have had some difficulty 
in proving that this Ubel had injured his prospects and 
ruined his career. On the contrary, it served to establish 
him temporarily as a personage, and to so increase the 
usual respect for successful villainy that every one in the 
hotel jumped to anticipate his sUghtest wish. Tad, of 
course, knew that such prestige could not last long. He 
had joined the desperate army of the unemployed, and he 
was to find that Washington was intrenched against them 
at every step. He was young and willing to work. Surely 
there was something for him to do, and yet, even he f oimd 
it difficult to think of anything he could do that anybody 
really wanted done. 

Our schools and colleges turn out men like this, so help- 
less they are a menace to our institutions. For assets 
Tad had health and a knowledge of human nature. The 
latter told him that his only chance to get anything was 
to conceal his need of it, and he realized that he could not 
bluff for long without a few cards. While he was waiting 
upon the creations of Mr. Hudspeth and Mr. Goldfogle's 
friend, he wrote letters on hotel stationery, letters to every- 
body he could think of and lots he couldn't, whose names 
he got from the telephone-book, not believing that anything 
would come of it, and nothing did. He wrote one letter 
which he thought had one chance in a million. It ran: 

[1041 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Dear Uncle Hank, — ^You'll be delighted to know I am alive 
and home again, and you'll be grieved to know that I am tem- 
porarily embarrassed. However, there are lots of things here 
in my line — ^the collectorship of New York, the ambassadorship 
to France, etc., and I will soon be able to repay the loan. Could 
you make me a small advance, say of five hundred dollars, 
and greatly oblige. Your affectionate jiephew, 

Thaddeub Castleman. 

The one chance in a million was that Unde Hank 
would now and then do something which no one would 
expect him to do. However, in this case Unde Hank 
ran true to form. He took not the slightest notice of his 
nephew's plea. 

As soon as Mr. Hudspeth and Mr. Goldfogle's friend 
made it possible. Tad, arrayed with the utmost liicety 
and care, not to say splendor, deployed upon Washington, 
and began those weary and hopeless attacks upon fortified 
indifference. These experiences were all alike, with small 
variations, and had the effect of slowly bleeding his cour- 
age to death drop by drop. Toward the dose of one of 
these weary days he found himself in the waiting-rooms 
of Senator Cactus. The rooms were crowded with men 
all wanting something, and many of them in various stages 
of decline and fall and down and out — ^gray, drab figures, 
misfits, scraps, and renmants of the unfortunate and the 
incompetent. The place was as cheerless and depressing 
as a morgue; more so because the figures stirred and were 
still capable of suffering. Tad felt the chill as soon as he 
entered, and it came at the dose of a discouraging day. 
However, he gave no sign, and with a cheerful and im- 
portant air placed his card before the hired discourager 
and asked to see the Senator. The buffer person did not 
look up, barely gave the card a furtive glance to fulfil 

I105J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the implied obligation of having considered it, and as 
some one else came up he brushed it away and it slid 
from the desk and fell into the waste-paper basket. Tad 
picked it out and again offered it, but the discourager 
was bu^y flagging another victim and absent-mindedly 
tore the card in two and dropped it. Tad's hand in- 
stinctively went out in his direction, but came back in 
obedience to a better instinct, and he stepped back to 
watch the game. 

The discourager must have felt the wave impulse, for 
he looked up, and for the first time came under the spell 
of the elegance manufactured by Congressman Gold- 
fogle's friend and the artistic Hudspeth. His attitude 
changed at once to one of conciliation and deference* 

''What name, please?'' he gur^ed. 

It was a great tribute to Hudspeth and Goldfogle's 
friend, but we are such strange cattle that his own cal- 
culated effect angered Mr. Castleman. 

"Never mind me. Attend to thid gentleman. I'll 
wait," he said, as he caught sight of the man who stood 
beside him. 

''Thank you, sir," said a bleached, thin, wan old man 
with the remnants of an old-fashioned dignity and cour- 
tesy, and the ghost of other days hovering over his shabby 
exterior. The man had been a gentleman, was a gentle* 
man, and perhaps had been a man of affairs. 

"I'm sure the Senator would see me if you'd take my 
name in," he said in a voice that trembled with weak- 
ness and excitement. 

"I took it in once and got called down.'' 

"I'm sorry," said the old man, gently. "It wa3 b^ 

Cf^use tj)e Sem^tor didn't understand." 

11061 



PEACE AND QUIET 



" YouTl have to give me your message/* 

"Good God!'* gasped the old man, "I can't do that — 
to a stranger! The Senator knows me. We come from 
the same town. My son, I — ^I want to get back home, 
where they know me and wh^e" — ^he paused helplessly 
and looked at the derk with a plea in his eyes that 
would have melted any one but a hired discourager 
— "and where they will bury me decently with my 
own.'* The man would have fallen but for Tad» who 
caught him and held him gently until he had r^ained 
his [composure. 

"It's four o'clock/' said the automatic damper, "and 
the Senator has gone for the day." 

There was a movement among the corpses, and a slow 
drift and dribble toward the door. Another day of dis- 
appointment, another day of hope deferred, and another 
empty and ominous to-morrow to meet. 

"I want work," is one of the most difficult sentences 
in the En^ish language to speak; and, " I can't get work," 
one of the saddest. Perhaps even sadder yet is the 
phrase, "I can no longer work." 

It was evident the crowd didn't move fast enough to 
suit the trained official. 

" Come, come," he said, " office hours aifd over." 

The old man thanked Tad for his courtesy with a 
quaint old charm that spoke of better days, and then he 
turned and faced the do(nr leading to the Senator's private 
rooms, and just stood there dazed and distant — a pathetic 
figure! 

"Come on," said the discourager to him, "get a move 

<m," and he put his hand on the old man and began to 

accelerate him toward the door. 

[IWI 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Then something happened that was most sudden and 
disconcertmg to the Senator's watch-dog. His head went 
back and forth with sickening rapidity and his teeth clat- 
tered together with such frequency that he could not co- 
ordinate a call for help. He found it difficult to get his 
breath and he was divided between sickening fear for 
his person, his raiment, and his dignity. Finally he felt 
himself being steadied and held upright. Strong hands 
were smoothing his ruffled raiment and he was dimly 
conscious that a smiling yoimg man was taking a button- 
hole bouquet from his own coat and putting it upon him 
to the delight of witnesses, and saying, sweetly: 

"There now, be nice, and you may take this message 
to the Senator for me; that if he doesn't teach his repre- 
sentatives better manners Mr. Thaddeus Castleman will 
come down here and do it for him. Accept my compU- 
ments!" 

And the smiling Mr. Castleman bowed graciously, put 
his hat on with a graceful touch, swung his stylish cane 
jauntily, and moved airily to the door. 

As Tad opened the door a dapper little man entered 
and passed him swiftly. Tad turned and started to speak 
to him, but Gen. Enrique Galboa was preoccupied and 
in a hurry, and before Tad could recover from his surprise 
the little Mexican was shown with obsequious deference 
into the private offices of Senator Cactus. Evidently the 
statement that the Senator had gone for the day was 
slightly inaccurate. 

As soon as he was on the street Tad looked eagerly 
about for the old gentleman who had remained too long 
in Washington. He had already disappeared. As Tad 
drifted along aimlessly he began to realize that he had 

1108] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

joined the innumerable throng of office-seekers, and to 
sense the tragedy of patronage. 

In spite of the fact that he was beginning to feel ex- 
tremely sorry for the men from whom he asked a job, he 
managed to force himself to accost the statesmen as they 
came and went, and they always turned to him that 
gracious exterior which is part of the political stock in 
trade, until they found he was a place-hunter, when they 
discovered that they were busy, or too late for an appoint- 
ment. 

The officer-holders tell us we are a nation of office- 
seekers. Certainly in Washington they wonder how the 
few people who are left on the farms and in the factories 
manage to get such an enormous amount of work done. 
Suddenly Tad found himself before the huge white 
monument which a grateful nation has erected to its dis- 
appointed office-seekers. 

Then he sat down on a bench and began to figure upon 
how long he could sit into this heartbreaking game. 

"tVhy, hello. Tad! What are you doing here?'* ex- 
claimed Mrs. Getts, as she stopped in front of him. 

**Why, just wondering which one of the fat jobs that 
have been offered me I could afford to take.'' 

"Walk along with me. I'm going to your hotel now. 
By the by, are you a member of our society — ^the Universal 
Peace Society?" 

"Universal what?" 

"Peace Society. You ought to be. With your experi- 
ence you'd make a most effective advocate." 

"As a horrible example, I suppose." 

"You ought to join." 
Does it pay? Join anything that pays.** 



8 [109] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



(C 



Now, Tad, behave! See here," turning and looking 
him over with sudden discrimination and approval — "see 
here, you can serve the Cause and, incidentaUy, me, if 
you have the mind." 

"Never mind the Cause. Anything I can do for 
you. Bo, you have only to name it, except to make 
a spcccn. 

"Well, you see this is a big thing — ^a world move- 
ment — " 

"Never mind the prospectus. The particular thing I 
can do for you!" 

"Well, Tad," she said, with sudden but flattering hom- 
age, as she slipped her hand into his arm and gave it an 
encouraging caress, "it's like this: I'm a candidate for the 
presidency." 

" Well, if any one ought to know the horrors or blessings 
of war, surely it is an army widow." 

"Don't be silly," she said, with toleration. "This is a 
holy cause." 

"You said you were out for the presidency?" 

"Yes, and I'm going to be elected, too. At first I 
didn't care, but, now that the opposition has resorted to 
such imspeakable tactics, I'm going to win." 

" Got your fighting blood up, eh? Grood I" 

"Why, you wouldn't believe that women, ladies^ could 
descend to such low-down tricks I Why, they're unworthy 
of a pot-house politician." 

"Well, Bo, I've always contended that women had a 
genius for politics." 

"WeU, Usten!" 

And she related at great length and .with much warmth 

all the sins of the opposition; likewise she outlined a way 

1 1101 



PEACE AND QUIET 

to circumvent the adversary, in which mere man was to 
be allowed to play a useful part. 

That night the convention met in the assembly-rooms 
of the New Willard, and the fight was on. Mrs. Getts, 
from a seat in the rear, engineered her campaign and ma- 
noeuvered her forces. Having seen to securing the chair for 
one of her partisans, and the sergeantess-at-arms for an- 
other, who was equipped for her martial duties with baby- 
blue eyes and dimples, she awaited with confidence the 
onslaught of the enemy, having had, not spies exactly, but, 
let us say, foimtains of information in the hostile camp. 
So when the dummy candidate who was to divide the 
Getts forces was put into nomination, a Getts partisan 
with a gift for invective arose and described the ruse in 
terms which were highly provocative. This brought a 
hot reply and the engagement became general, nobody 
taking the listening end of the bet. It developed into a 
most animated scene. Fortunately the din and confusion 
obscured many of the bitter personahties. Mrs. Getts, 
quite calm, signaled to the chair, who, after adding to the 
uproar, finally succeeded in getting a hearing for herself, 
and ordered both disputants to take their seats. It is 
needless to add that both offenders were contumacious 
and defiant, and again charges and counter-charges, 
accusations and recriminations, woimded the air. 

The chair finally fell back upon the last, and, as some 
people think, the best argument — ^force — and waved an 
agreed-upon signal to the sergeantess-at-arms. Of course 
no one paid any attention to the stem demands of this 
charming little officer, and she left the floor to the dis- 
putants well on their way to being combatants. When 

the possessor of the baby-blue eyes and the dimples re* 

linj 



PEACE AND QUIET 

appeared she pointed dramatically to the two principal 
anarchists and said something which nobody heard, but 
which was in substance, '*Up, guards, and at 'em,'' or 
something like that. 

The effect was magical. The hotel detective, who was a 
large, imposing figure, took one of the disputants up bodily 
and removed her from the room. Tad took the other. 
It was done so quickly, so neatly as to leave the conven- 
tion in a state of suspended or arrested animation. 

When the convention had recovered its breath and got 
a good view of the sergeantess-at-arms standing upon a 
chair defying the lightning, and realized that this brilliant 
coup-de-main had been executed by dimples and baby- 
blue eyes, it gave way to a roar of happy laughter. In 
a moment the strain was over. Rancor seemed ridiculous; 
hatred absurd. Mrs. Gretts, rising to the occasion with a 
complete mastery of the situation, made a charming plea 
for harmony and unity — ^her own brand of the same — and 
was elected before anybody knew it, with the rivals not 
even a good second. 

After it was all over the new president bestowed upon 
the substantial hotel detective a substantial tip. Tad 
gazed upon it with covetous, almost greedy ^es. 

"'Do you know, Bo," he said, as the detective walked 
away, ''I believe in tips. They are the comer-atones of 
our civilization." 

Evidently she was thinking of something else, for she 
said: *'0f course. Tad, I couldn't offer money to you; 
but, believe me, I won't forget it, I won't forget it." And 
her empty hand shook his empty hand warmly. 



CHAPTER XI 

FROM the standpoint of the guest of honor the 
dinner at the Arlington was a failure. There were 
three reasons for this, any one of which would 
have been suflSdent in the opinion of Mr. Castleman — 
namely. Colonel Buck, Mrs. Getts, and the young male 
person by the name of Fletcher. If young Castleman had 
arranged this dinner in his own honor, he would have had 
Miss Buck on one side of a small table and himself on the 
other, in a nice, quiet comer situated about one mile from 
the nearest table. The presence of the colonel and Mrs. 
Getts threw a shadow over the occasion, which the pres- 
ence of the young male person deepened into a complete 
eclipse. 

There were a number of things about this young male 
person that Mr. Castleman did not like, and he did not 
like them instantaneously. In the first place, he thought 
he would have liked him better if his name had been Sap- 
head, which it wasn't, and he had belonged to the Tliir- 
teenth, or unlucky Cavalry, which he didn't, and if he 
had been of plain exterior. On the contrary, he was de« 
cidedly personable, even offensively so. There were 
several other things about Mr. Fletcher that Mr. Castle- 
man did not Uke. The young male person's admiration 
for Miss Tranquillity Buck was — ^well, quite without ar- 

1118] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

tistic restraint, quite without delicacy. Mr. Castleman 
found himself annoyed with Miss Buck for permitting 
anything so crude, so lacking in refinement. Then, too, 
it appeared that Mr. Fletcher was on the colonel's staff, 
and he seemed to be a person who could be relied upon 
to take every unfair advantage of such a position. 

And the confoimded old colonel, who had developed 
interference and blocking into a fine art where Mr. 
Castleman was concerned, seemed totally obHvious to the 
young male person and his unfair advantages. 

Of course, with all these chattering and unnecessary 
p^sons about, there was no chance to say to Tran any 
of the million things he wanted to say to her, nor any 
chance to hear any of the million things he wanted to 
hear. He was conscious of feeling an absurd irrhation, 
and he knew that he was not appearing to advantage. 
The remarks which he intended to be playful and amus- 
ing soimded sarcastic and unamiable, almost uncouth. 
Angry with himself for such blimdering, he fell into a con- 
strained silence which threatened to become embarrass- 
ing. 

With an air of favoring the awkward guest Mr. Fletcher 

was so inept as to introduce the subject of the interview 

in the Evening Moony and that afforded Miss Buck the 

opportunity ol inquiring if the SefLora De La Garza was 

really as beautiful as they said, and was the story of the 

flower-girl really as conventional as it soimded? Miss 

Buck appealed to Mr. Fletcher for information as to how 

it would feel to desolate a land of dark-eyed sefioritas? 

And would it not be confusing to owe one's life to so 

many passionate devotions? Mr. Fletcher truthfully 

acknowledged that he did not know> but he entered into 

1114] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the playful banter with elephantine sprightliness. Or- 
dinarily young Mr. Castleman could take care of himself 
in the game of give and take, but he was strangely un- 
happy under the ministrations of the diminutive Miss 
Buck. 

He was genuinely glad when the dinner was over and 
he could make his escape into the silent night. He did 
not return immediately to his hotel, but walked the 
streets hour after hour, trying to become physically tired, 
for his nerves had begun to show the strain he had been 
under since his arrival on the good ship Albuquerque. 

When he had turned his back on ** barbarous Mexico'' 
how his heart had yearned to his own country and to her! 
Yet here he was in Washingtcm and she was in Washing- 
ton, and they had sat sixle by side at the same table, and 
they were as far apart as if she stood at the South Pole 
and he at the North Pole. Even if he had the supreme 
happiness of being alone with her, what could he have 
said? Only repeat what he had told her back in the 
dear, dead years under the whispering elms in Lover's 
Lane. What had he to ofifer? What had he to show for 
the absent years? What could he promise for the future? 

It was well th^ had not been alone together. She was 
out of his orbit, in another worid. Even in his own 
world he was an extra, a superfluity, an incubus. He had 
seen those who had stayed too long in Washington — ^that 
pathetic old man! He did not mean to stay that long. 
The atmosphere at the New Willard had begun to be dis- 
quieting. The barometer had indicated change, then 
cloudy and threatening, then storm. 

Mr. Hudspeth, Congressman Goldfogle's friend, and 
others like unto them were becoming conspicuous, insistent, 

[116] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and would soon be clamorous. What a lot of energy he 
had wasted, and what for? 

**Most people," he reflected, ** exercise no judgment or 
discrimination whatever in the matter of an exit. Na- 
poleon should have bumped off at Waterioo. General 
Grant should never have waited to be a banker. To get 
into good society I*should have faded away in General 
Aggrimonte's garden/' 

Day was beginning to sneak into Washington when 
Tad sneaked into the hotel, took off his clothes that didn't 
belong to him, and laid down on the bed unpaid for. 

The day started in a discouraged way, heavy, over- 
cast, moody, and after intermittent efforts at cheerful- 
ness finally developed a well-defined case of influenza. 
Having emerged from the dispiriting drizzle, two ladies 
and two gentlemen stood in the hotel office and inquired 
for Mr. Castleman. The telephone autocrat rammed the 
plug into the unoffending orifice with an energy that 
registered the convicticm that she was the victim of 
the malice of all mankind, and particularly of the friends 
of Mr. Castleman. There was no response from Mr. 
CasUeman's apartments. 

*' That's strange," mused Miss Tranquillity Buck, with 
a troubled note in her voice. 

** Let's go home," suggested the colonel, catching the 
microbe of persecution from the telephone operator. 

**0h no," said Miss Buck, with decision. **It's the 
hour. We're expected. Try again, won't you, please?" 

The embittered telephone sufferer registered weariness, 
protest, scorn, the futility of f ussiness, and a few other 
confused emotions on the unoffending instrument, but to 
no avail, 

in«l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Mr. Castleman was paged, and during this interval 
three of the party gave signs of marked impatience. 
Finally Miss Buck said» with a nervous tremor: 

*^ Perhaps he is ill» or something has hi^pened." 

** Nonsense!" said the colonel. ** However, send up a 
bell-boy with a pass-key and find out." 

** Yes/' added his daughter. **And we will accompany 
the bell-boy and find out for ourselves." 

"Oh no." 

"Oh yes. Tad has only stepped out for a moment, 
and he'll find us when he returns. Come! Thank you, 
Mr. Simmons." 

And the oleaginous, the expansive, the effervescing Mr. 
Sinmions, the head clerk, what was the matter with him? 
If Mr. Castleman's friends hadn't been absorbed in them- 
selves they would have noticed that the genial Mr. 
Sinmions had gone sour as he passed Mr. Castleman's 
mail along with the pass-key to the bell-boy, and in a 
corrosive-sublimate voice said: "Front, give this docu- 
ment to Mr. Castleman, and wait for an answer. It's 
important." The document was a long, white business 
envelope and looked as if it contained a death-warrant 
or something equally disagreeable. 

There being no response to the knocking at Mr. Castle- 
man's door, the visitors, with growing nervousness and 
apprehension, stood back while the bell-boy applied the 
pass-key and then ushered the party into the gloomy 
chamber. 

"My, isn't it dark?" said Mrs. Getts in a tone of annoy- 
ance, as they huddled in the background while the bell- 
boy groped his way to the bow window. 

"What on earth can have happened to him?" Tran- 






PEACE AND QUIET 

quillity asked herself, aloud, while her imagination whis- 
pered unspeakable things too horrible to contemplate, 
and she reproached herself for her own flippancy at his 
expense at the dinner given ostensibly in his honor, but 
at which he seemed to have been the victim, and she re- 
called almost with terror his air of depression and dis- 
couragement, so unusual and so unnatural. As the bell- 
boy drew back the curtains and let in the light of the sad 
day it was evident that Mr. Castleman had not, to use 
Miss Buck's words, "stepped out for a moment,** for 
male wearing apparel was in disordered and flagrant 
evidence. 

Dear me!** exclaimed Mrs. Getts, properly shocked. 
Mr. Fletcher, please!" And with the young military 
person's assistance she drew a screen around the male 
habiliments, thereby illustrating one of the highest func- 
tions of social Ufe, which is ignoring the obvious. 

Comment being unnecessary, Mr. Fletcher called at- 
tention to the fact that Mr. Castleman's telephone seemed 
to be suffering from laryngitis, having had its vocal ap- 
paratus swathed in a couple of bath-towels, and as Colonel 
Buck made a note of this and looked about him it was 
evident from his heightened color that the habitual 
serenity and amiability inherited from his Quaker an- 
cestors was oozing at every pore. 

"Well, upon my soul, this is a nice howdy-do! Pour 
o'clock in the afternoon and not up yet!" Then he turned 
to Tranquility with righteous indignation: "I thought 
you told me this scamp had come home to settle down, 
get something respectable to do, and try to live like a 
gentleman? Settle down, eh?" 

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Getts, "when one doesn't get 

[118] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

up until four o'clock in the afternoon, settling down may 
reasonably be considered a fact accomplished, don't you 
think sor 

This witticism awoke a dormant sense of humor in the 
young male person's breast, and he started to enjoy it 
audibly, but, catching sight of Miss Tranquillity Buck's 
palpable disapproval, he took his sense of humor up to 
the window and lost it in vacant contemplation of dark- 
est Washington. No one could fail to observe that Miss 
Buck was in no. humor for badinage as she struggled to 
control her voice. 

"Please don't!" she begged. "I don't think any of 
you understand. Tad has been trying. He's asked pretty 
much everybody in Washington for a job, and I know he 
sometimes walks the streets all night because he — ^well, 
the boy is getting discouraged and, oh, I hope—" And 
she turned to the bell-boy, who had put Mr. Castleman's 
mail on the center-table, and said, "Which is the bed- 
room?" 

"This one here.** 

"Wait! Don't wake him. Just look in and see if he 
19 alive." Every one present was sensitive to Miss Buck's 
nervous tension, and to some extent unwillingly subject 
to it. All stood motionless while the lad with a melo- 
dramatic consciousness bom of the movies approached 
the door. Quietly, slowly, elaborately he opened the 
fatal portal. An amiable, unromantic snore emerged. 
The tension relaxed. 

"He is apparently alive," murmured Miss Buck. 

"And inconsiderately," added her amiable parent. 

"Father!" 

The colonel retreated to the window. 

[1101 



PEACE AND QUIET 






Shall I dig him out?*' eagerly suggested the boy. 
Heavens, no!" said the o£Bcer of the day. '"That will 
do. Close the door." And Miss Buck sat down at the 
mahogany desk and began to write. 

'* Hello!" drawled the colonel, as he came to her and 
looked over her shoulder. "How did this come here?" 
and he picked up from the desk a faded, battered, pulpy 
remnant of what had been a photograph. 

""That?" said Miss Buck, taking it out of his hands 
and examining it with impersonal interest. "Oh, that? 
Why, I presume he had it because I gave it to him a great 
many years ago. Don't let that worry you," and she 
tossed the inoffensive bit of cardboard to one side with 
a finality that excluded f urth^ discussicm, and finished 
her brief note. Then she read it to her companions: 

My dear Tad, — ^I thought you invited us to four-o'clock tea? 
Maybe it was five o'clock. It's my mistake. We'll be back 
at five, so that gives you a whole hour to dress, make tea, and 
invent a good explanation. 

Yours severely, 

TRANQmLUTT BtJCK. 

Miss Tranquillity put the photograph where it had 
stood before and placed the above communication 
against it. "Now, when we are gone," she said to the 
lad, "you may wake the gentleman, but very quietly, as 
he may be ill, you understand, and you need not say 
anything of this little visit. My note will explam." 

Miss Buck placed in the bell-boy's palm a substantial 
appeal to his higher nature and manoeuvered her party ex- 
pertly into the hall. After examining the appeal with 
approval the boy approached the bedroom door with a 
smile of derision and tapped upon it in a most ladylike 

(120] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

way. There being no response he began a drum solo 
with variations. 

**Stop that! Shut up! Quit it!" came from the other 
side of the door» and a gentleman in pajamas emerged, 
took the drummer by the throat with a firm but not a 
rude handy and exclaimed: ** You little devil» what do 
you mean by making this infernal row?*' 

When he could negotiate his voice the youngster said: 
"I thought you*d like your to-day's mail to-day, sir, or 
would it be next week, sir?'* 

"Why, what time is it?" asked Tad, sleepily. 

"Pour G.M." 

"Really? Why, I must have overslept myself." 

The boy grinned impudently, but wisely refrained from 
comment, and, picking out the long, sepulchral-looking 
document intrusted to him by the no-longer-genial Mr. 
Simmons, held it up with a tombstone effect and said: 

"And this one is important. It's from the office, and 
I'm to wait for the answer." 

"Throw it on the table with the rest." 

Tad refused to be impressed, and retired to his bed- 
room to begin a hasty toilet as a delicate hint to his visitor 
that he might take his leave. Indeed, it was quite un- 
necessary to read Mr. Simmons's pressing communication. 
Tad got a complete map of its contents from the unstudied 
impudence of the messenger. Manifestly it was no longer 
possible to travel on the reputation of having looted the 
Mexican national treasury. 

"Mr. Simmons asked me to hand you this personal," 
insisted the lad. 

"Please present Mr. Castleman's compliments to Mr. 
Simmons and say that you found Mr. Castleman busy 

11211 



PEACE AND QUIET 

with his toilet, and assure Mr. Simmons that Mr. Castle- 
man will give his communication distinguished considera- 
tion at his earliest convenience, and add — " 

"Say, I can't remember all that." 

"No? Well, then just say simply that you found Mr. 
Castleman annoyed that Mr. Sinunons had not sent him 
an ambassador of more distinction, more what you would 
call, aavoir mvre.** 

"I pass," said the ambassador, but he gave no sign of 
passing. On the contrary, he gave every indication of 
remaining, fumbled around among the papers and maga- 
zines upon the table, thereby displacing and overturning 
Miss Tranquillity Buck's sarcastic communication, and 
finally selected a copy of a New York newspaper many 
days old, and began to read something in it with obvious 
interest. After a time he called out: 

"Say, you're dead. Did you know it?" 

It gave Tad a little shock. Strange how everything 
was suggesting that he was lingering too long, lagging 
unconscionably ! 

"Yes, I know it," he answered, "but how did you find 
it out?" 

Tad peeked in, came from the bedroom, took the 
paper from the boy's hands, and found an elaborate ac- 
count of his own execution at Tampico^ as just one of a 
long and loud list of those patriots whom an indifferent 
and recreant administration had allowed to be butchered 
to make a Mexican holiday. 

"No, my son," he said to his persistent visitor, "there 
was a Thaddeus Castleman who hungered for excitement, 
but who, having dined on excitement to the extent of 
forcible feeding, now longs for a home and peace and quiet, 



PEACE AND QUIET 

that's ally just peace and quiet. Speaking of feeding, 
why isn't my table set for breakfast?" 

The boy grinned. He knew Tad was performing for 
his ben^t. 

"This is inexcusable, boy. They know my orders. 
What do they mean? This is a fine second-hand beanery ! 
What kind of a joint have I got into that can't scare up 
a simple dejeuner by four o'clock in the afternoon? 
That '11 do, boy," he added, waving to the bell-hop a 
royal permission to back out of the imperial presence. 

"What '11 do? Say, gove'nor, I ain't on the pension 
list, you know." 

"Oh, I see," and Mr. Castleman left the room and re- 
turned with a particularly gaudy vest, and from it took 
a small article wrapped in tissue-paper, and, placing it 
before the boy on the table, said, with a grand air: "It's 
a Mexican opal, son — it's my last. Accept it with my 
compliments," and then turned away and picked up his 
telephone receiver and began to address the instrument 
with the air of one who has looted the Bank of England, 
instead of some unconsidered trifle like the Mexican 
treasury. 

"Yes, please, the office. The office? Call Mr. Sim- 
mons to the 'phone! Mr. Simmons? Yes, Mr. Castle- 
man. I think you know my orders in regard to break- 
fast? Your letter? No, I haven't read it — ^hope to have 
the pleasure later. What's that? Until I pay for what 
I've had? Now I'm not going to descend to your level 
and bandy words with you, Sinunons! Listen! You'll 
simply force me to complain to the proprietors, detach 
you from your job, and take my patronage to a really 

first-class hotels" 

11281 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The beQ-boy» weak with admiration, sustained himself 
over the back of a chair. 

"Yes, I shall positively leave, yes, d-b-a-v-b, unless I 
have your apology in writing, within — ^well, within the 
next ttoo tveeksJ* And Tad hung up the receive with the 
air of one who had performed exceedingly well a dis- 
agreeable duty. 

"WeU, boyr 

"Say, Q>lonel,** said the latter, ^ing the opal with 
cynical distrust, "you work off your old colored glass on 
some one else/* 

A new-comer had found the door ajar and quietly en- 
tered. He was a big man. 

"Get out, Idd," he said. "I want a word with this 
gentleman. Gro on.** 

He had what might be called a compelling presence, 
and a practised severity of mien which was warranted 
to strike terror into the hearts of evil-doers. 

As he spoke Tad turned and at once recognized his co- 
worker in the cause of peace and Mrs. Getts, but, as the 
man of amplitude seemed studiously oblivious of their 
slight acquaintance. Tad ignored it too. The big man 
followed the boy to the door, and, speaking through it, 
said: 

"And, kid, ask the clerk to call up the hospital and 
ask *em to have the ambulance ready.** 

Tad, without turning from the mirror where he was 
carefully adjusting his tie, murmured, " Why this untoward 
solicitude for my comfort, Bill?" 

"My name ain't Bill." 

"No? How strange! Wait! Don't tell me what it 
is. Hide your identity if you like. I don't blame you.** 



ll«4l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"So you're going to leave our hotel, are you?" inquired 
the Big One, with calculated menace. 

"Don't want to, Harold, but the service is so bad — " 

"Listen. You'll leave it either in the police hurry-up 
buggy or the hospital hearse. Get me?" 

"Why, how unkind, Clarence!" responded Tad, look- 
ing up with a glance of reproach from the letters he was 
carelessly opening and as carelessly dismissing. 

"You better get the money quick." 

"How can I when you insist upon keeping me immured 
in this dungeon vile? You are unreasonable, Arthur." 

"Quit your kiddin'. I'm the hotel detective." 

"Strange! I penetrated your elaborate disguise at the 
first glance. I'm a bom detectograph." 

" 'Ain't you got any friends?" said the other, changing 
his line of attack. 

"Friends? Do you want me to lose them, Claude? I 
can't ask money from a friend. I don't suppose you could 
lend me a couple of hundred, could you, GeoflFry?" 

The detective gave Tad a look which the latter felt 
without looking up, and he added, plaintively: 

"There, you see your feelings are hurt right away. 
People are so sensitive." 
, "Ain't there any money in any of those?" 

"Bills, CliflFord, aU bills!" And Tad dismissed the 
entire correspondence with a regal gesture of weary 
patience. 

"Now you're a detective — ^if you could detect a way 
to pay those bills — " 

"Oh, gwan! What's your game? What are you doing 
in Washington?" 

What is any one doing in Washington? There are 



9 [125] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



several things in my line — ^the ambaAsadorahip to France, 
the collectorship of New York — *' 

"Quititr 

"Well, Fm not proud, Chauncey. I'll take anything 
that has a fixed emoliunent attached to it. I can make 
money, but, honest, I want to settle down. I want a job 
where I can't make much, and where I have to make it 
slow. See?" 

There was a peculiar glint in the big man's eyes, and a 
little twitch at the mouth as he tried to get an accurate 
idea of the topography of the ceiling. Tad, who was 
watching him, exclaimed: 

"I got you, Mike, you're human." 

The big man grinned frankly. "You got it at last. 
Mike's my name. You better let it go at that." 

Tad seized him by the paw and shook it effusively. 
" I knew we were friends. Sit down and have a cigarette." 

Tad searched himself in vain, the Irish giant coming 
to the rescue and offering him one instead. 

"Thanks. I knew we were going to be friends." 

"Go easy. Go easy," warned the other. "You got 
to think of something." 

"I have and here it is," he said, as he inhaled the 
smoke, sat down and put his feet on the table in an 
attitude ol comi^te surrender to the beatitudes. 

"Mike, did you ever have a girl, a sweetheart?" 

"Behave! I got a wife and eight kids." 

"You never have had the happiness of meeting this 
particular girl, I suppose? If you had you would know 
still better how I feel. Well, she is coming, and I have 
invited some other friends for five-o'clock tea. Now 
you can see — " 

[126] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"You can't pull it off, my friend." 

"I must." 

"CaU it off." 

"Can't. Invitations out." 

"Make some excuse, any excuse." 

"Too late!" 

"Better flag *em." 

"How?" 

"Don't know. Telephone 'em; oh, telephone 'em 
you're sick or dead or — " 

"Dead? Why, what a happy thought I Mike, what 
do you consider the pleasantest, most rechercM way of 
bumping off?" 

"Which?" 

"Passing. Now, there is gas, but this second-hand 
hotel has eliminated that convenience. There is charcoal 
d la Frangaise^ but this measly joint doesn't even provide 
charcoal. There is hanging, but just as one is getting 
used to it some idiot will come along at the critical mo- 
ment, cut you down, and ask you for a tip. Chloroform 
or morphine! I wonder how much enough of it would 
cost? Bichloride of mercury is fashionable, but you loaf 
around for a week or two and get on people's nerves." 

Mike glanced at him with a smile which was labeled 
cynical, but which was a shade unea^. "Put me down 
for a wreath," he said. 

"Now, Mike, these are attractive little rooms, don't 
you think? Well, you put it up to my friends down- 
stairs. They will serve me a five-o'clock tea, and do it 
right, or I will choose a method that will spoil about four 
hundred and ninety-eight dollars' worth of rugs and other 
things. Tell 'em so for me. Hotek like advertising!" 

[1«7J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The telephone-bell rang. Tad took the receiver. 

"Yes? Oh, that you, Tran? Why, yes, of course I'm 
expecting you. Just can't wait till you get here. Good! 
By-by!" 

"'That the one and cmly?" inquired the Irish giant. 

"The same! And, Mike— " 

The big man stopped the threatened rhapsody with a 
gesture and, ambling over to the telephone, took up the 
receiver. 

"Hello! Give me the head clerk. That you, Charlie? 
Yes, it's Mike. Say, listen ! Serve this guy his afternoon 
tea, will you? Wait a minute! Don't get excited. You 
can charge it to me. Yes, I'll make good, if he don't. 
He's a con? Sure I know he is, but he's worth the price 
of admission. All right." 

"Say, Mike," said Tad, restraining an impulse to em- 
brace the Dublin giant, "I couldn't work you with this 
Mexican opal, could I?" 

"You could not." 

There was a knock at the door, and without waiting 
for a response Senator Charlemagne Cactus effulged into 
the room, followed by the dapper elegance of Gen. Enrique 
Galboa. 



CHAPTER Xn 

I HAVE said that Senator Cactus effulged. Indeed, 
he was equipped by nature for a public career. He 
shook hands readily and without provocation, and he 
had perfected an automatic, predigested smile with 
which he met all the exigencies of life, whether of persons 
or policies. It was next to impossible to surprise the 
Senator out of his benign and prepared neutrality, but the 
best disposed of us know that it is quite impossible to 
please everybody. 

The Senator had been accused of carrying a ready- 
made aUbi as an accident policy. One of his critics had 
described him as a stately battleship equipped with the 
machinery of an alarm-clock. Another had likened him 
to the collapsible glory of the circus tent which dazzles 
and amazes overnight and leaves three empty rings of 
sawdust in the morning. Fortunately it is not necessary 
to believe all one hears of Senators. 

The Senator and his companion had found out the num- 
ber of Tad's room and come up unannounced, with the 
expectation of finding him alone. If the presence of 
Mike was disconcerting, it was not obvious in the Sena- 
torial smile which impartially took in everybody and 
everything in sight. 

"Why, Senator,*' exclaimed Tad, with genuine surprise, 

[129] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

^'coine in. I am delighted. And me General, buenaa 
diasi Mike," and Tad turned with ready adaptability, 
"allow me to present my friends. Senator Chariemagne 
Cactus and El Sefior Don General Enrique Galboa. Gen- 
tlemen, my friend, Michael — '* 

Tad swallowed the rest of what ought to have been 
Mike's name, and waved toward him grandly with the 
air of conferring on him the cross of the Legion of 
Honor. 

Mike grinned with appreciation at the effort to impress 
him with the Castleman calling-list, and whispered softly 
in his ear: "Say, kid, get your swell friends, Charlie 
Cactus and Garibaldi there, to fix this up for you." And 
he moved to the door with an air of chastened cynicism. 

"Say, Mike," called Tad to him, "the Senator and the 
general won't care for tea; get me?" 

"Well, if I don't I will," replied the Irish giant, dryly. 
"See you later." 

If the departure of the hotel heavy artillery left any 
depressing effect, it was not apparent as Tad turned to 
Galboa with the remark: 

"Well, amigo miOi how did you do it, eh?" 

"Do eet?" softly purred the smooth little man, pre- 
tending not to understand. 

"Yes, slip through the knot-hole at San Juan?" 

"Oh, oh," laughed the Mexican, gently. "You slip 
through too, eh? Well, what ees the deeference, eh? 
Here we are, eh? Both of us, ^, and the goose 'ee hang 
high, eh?" 

It was evident that Enrique had no intention of ex- 
changing confidences. 

"Well, anyway, I'm glad to see you," cried Tad. 

[130] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



" I'm glad to see you, friends of my youth and comrades 
in nefarious enterprise." 

The Senator winced under the latter phrase, and with 
calculated abstraction walked to the door and looked 
out after the retreating figure of Michael, the big. Re- 
assured, he closed the door and, glancing about the room, 
remarked: 

"You seem to be treating yourself pretty well. I 
couldn't afford a suite like this.'' 

"That's because you're a millionaire, Senator," re- 
sponded Tad. "You'd have to pay for it. Well," he 
continued, looking approvingly from one to the other of 
his visitors, "it cheers my heart to see you and to know 
that there is such a thing as a real friend in the world, 
and not only one, but ttoo. You have heard of my neces- 
sities and you have come to relieve them." 

The Senator's bland neutrality disappeared and he 
visibly shrank at the suggestion, while Galboa pursed his 
lips and drifted off into the abstract with the remark: 

"The best away ees always to 'elp the man to 'elp 
heemself." 

"A speech," rejoined Tad, "which always precedes the 
offer of two days' work for one day's pay, I cognize you. 
General." 

"You still have that stock in our sugar companies, I 
think," beamed the Senator. 

"Yes, and in your rubber companies and in your coffee 
companies, and you can have them all back for a pack- 
age of cigarettes," 

"They'll make you rich, my boy, soon as we have 
secured tranquillity in Mexico." 

Tad laughed. "Tranquillity in Mexico? Ha» ha, ha, 

[181] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ha! followed by prolonged cachination and when there 
are whiskers on the face of the moon!'' 

Enrique put his hand upon his heart and rolled his 
lambent eyes to heaven. *^My beautiful Mexico! My 
distract' countree — '* 

"Save that, Henny/' said Tad, dryly. "Don't waste 
it on me! Well," he continued, looking from one to the 
other, "you have honored me. Now what is it?" 

The visitors looked at each other shyly. 

"Come on. Get to it," Tad urged. 

"Well," said Enrique, with kindergarten gentleness, 
"'ees a leetle expedeetion — " 

"Smuggling arms to the rebels, eh?" interrupted Tad, 
with brutal directness. 

"Eef you like," smiled Enrique, with beautiful sim- 
plicity. 

"Well, I don't like. I've given up all that sort of 
thing! I've reformed. I have come home to settle 
down. All I ask is peace and quiet." 

"Peace and quiet?" And Enrique's eyes flashed. 
"You got to fight like 'ell for dat peace and quiet. Now 
dees leetle expedeetion ees — ^ah, so sweet, so easy — " 

"Say, Senator," cut in Tad, impatiently, "get to it." 

The Senator coughed conservatively to give himself 
time to express himself carefully, and said: "Well, the 
rebels around our part of the country are in desperate 
need of hospital supplies, and I have secured permission 
for a train-load of hospital stores to go over the border 
to the suflFerers — er — eh — ^now you tell him, Don En- 
nque! 

"Wait a minute," cried Tad. "I'll tell you! You 
have a duplicate train loaded with arms and ammunition 



PEACE AND QUIET 

made up to look like the hospital-train's twin brother; 
you side-track the hospital-train and run the arms across 
in its place." 

"Wat you t'ink, eh?'* exclaimed Enrique, with a glow of 
triumph. 

"Its want of originality insures its complete success,'* 
said Tad. 

"Easy, eh?" 

"Too easy. Why come to an artist like me?'* 

The Senator made a motion that combined a benedic- 
tion and an appeal for patience. "Well, you see, there 
is a little hitch," he murmured softly. "Perhaps you 
may know of Kellerman's Depot of Arms and Ammuni- 
tion — ^arsenal up the Hudson." 

"Know heem?" laughed Enrique. "Castleman know 
heem plenty — ^is relations!" 

"Yes, I suppose I've got to own up to the delightful 
old scoundrel," Tad admitted. "WeU?" 

"Haven't you looked through your morning's mail?" 
cautiously inquired the Senator. "You must have re- 
ceived a communication from your uncle's lawyer. No?** 

"My mail has become so depressing and so monoto- 
nous," said Tad, "that I sometimes treat myself to the 
pleasure of ignoring it. Ah, here it is apparently," he 
added, as he fished out a long, business envelope. "Yes, 
yes," and he snuled with pleasant anticipation, "the dear 
old eccentric has relented, I suppose, and sends me the 
trifling five hundred. I have struggled hard to convince 
dear uncle of the pleasures of giving, but never with 
conspicuous success." 

"Oh, tell 'eem," nervously insisted Galboa. 

"Well," gurgled the Senator, "you see, just as the gen- 

[133] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

eraTs bargain was made, but not legally cmisimimateiL 
Kdlennan is inomsiderate enough to drop dead, die, die^ 
as it were — oonfound himf 

''And left his money to me?^ int ci mii ted Tad, always 
ready to meet good f<Mtone moie than half-way. ''Hur- 
ray! horray! Excuse these tears! Dear old Unde 
Hankr 

The vtsiUvs looked at eadi other with gentle solicitude, 
as thou^ loath to puncture the beantifnl dream of <Mie 
so young. 

"No,** burbled the Senat<v. "No, not quite. Not so 
far as we know. You were menticxied in the codidL 
Got itr 

"Oh yes, here it is. I got if And Tad read it aloud 
fllo^dy and with increadng appredaAkm, 

"To my nephew, Thaddeus Castleman, ^riio se»na 
determined to be shot or hung, I bequeath the earnest 
prayer that nothing may interfere with sudi a desirable 
omdusion." And Tad grinned with genuine and hearty 
^oyment. "Dear Unde Hank,*' he diortled. "And 
after that I bet he just lau^ied himsdf to death.** 

"As we understand it," the Senator said, sdionnly, 
"that is exactly ^diat hiq^pened. After he had made his 
will he was so pleased with it he went into a convulsion 
of mirth, and it proved too much for an overburdened 
heart; one of the saddest cases I ever knew.*' 

"Wdl,** said Tad, "who gets it?** 

"He leaves his buriness,'* said the S^iator, "the going 

concern, to his niece, the widow of an army officer and 

president of the Woman's Auxiliary of the Universal 

Peace Sodety.** 

"Mrs. Getts?** 

[1S41 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"The same.'* 

"Good old Uncle Hank!" said Tad. "No wonder he 
died laughing! Well, why have you come to me?" 

"The little hitch we spoke of." 

"Hitch?" 

"Well, mi amdgOf** insinuated Enrique, "we got to do 
business with the new owner, yes?" 

"Yes." 

"Well," gently urged the Senator, "it looks a bit diffi- 
cult, don't you think? And you are related?" 

"Oh, Mrs. Getts is a second cousin several times re- 
moved, but — ^" 

"And then," purred Enrique to the Senator, "Ee 'ave 
such a way with the wimmen! They jump through the 
*oop for dat fellow. Ees wonderful." 

The Senator followed up the attack with: "Mrs. Getts 
is in the hotel now. Her society is holding a series of 
meetings here. Let me bring her up." 

"Mrs. Getts and some of my friends are coming here 
to five-o'clock tea," said Tad, thoughtfully. 

"Gkxxi!" chimed the visitors together. 

"Then you take it on," decided the Senator. 

"Cierto," affirmed Enrique; "'ees settled!" 

"No," said Tad, "I'm done." 

"On your own terms." 

"No." 

"You're broke, as usual?" 

"Flat." 
We make some inducements," coaxed Enrique. 
No inducements that you could make would influence 
me. I have had a lot of fun, but I'm tired of excitement. 
I have had enough. I know when to quit, and I'm through. " 

I1S5J 






PEACE AND QUIET 

The visitors looked at each other with frank dismay. 

Castleman's obstinacy was unexpected and most dis- 
concerting. They rose to go. 

"Well, don't decide anything offhand/* urged the Sen- 
ator. "Think it over." 

"Yes, yes, amigo mio^* chimed in Enrique. "My room 
ees 874. Telephone us eef you can make the way to 
change your mind." 

"All right, but I won't change my mind.'* 

"Perhaps?" And the little man brought his heels 
together and bowed ceremoniously. "Dispense me, 
sefior." 

And they were gone. 

Tad stood for a moment 'in the room just where they 
had left him. His situation was desperate. This offer 
had opened up an easy and immediate way out, but it 
also opened the way back into the life he had abandoned. 
He had no illusions as to the past or the future. He had 
made his decision, as usual, instantaneously and without 
deliberation, and he did not review the decision now or 
try to compromise with it, but he was undeniably troubled. 
He sat down only to rise again. He wandered to the win- 
dow and looked out into the busy city, seeing nothing. 
Washington was attending to business without any 
thought of Mr. Castleman or Mr. Castleman's affairs. 
Washington was closed, locked, and protected by burglar 
insurance. His grateful country had no use whatever for 
one Thaddeus Castleman. His mind went back to San 
Juan d'Ulloa. It's hardly fair to compare its accommo- 
dations with the New Willard, but the situation was not 
very different. The old phrase kept coming back — ^in the 
morning. Perhaps the peace and quiet he was looking 

[186] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

for was back there in the garden under the prison wall. 
Who knows? 

His telephone rang. 

"Hello! Yes? Some one to see me? What name? 
Whale? Say, quit kidding. An appointment with me? 
No. I'm the adopted son of Mr. Jonah, but I haven't 
any appointment with old Mr. Whale, not yet. Doctor 
Whale? Dr. Chahners Whale? Oh, well, all right. Let 
him come up!" 

If Tad expected to see an eccentric he was disappointed. 
The clean-cut, well-groomed cosmopolitan who entered 
the room with a perfect manner might have been a 
banker or an editor or just a gentleman. 

"I hope," he said, with suavity, "you will pardon my 
intrusion. This is Mr. Castleman, I believe." 

"Yes, and you are — " 

"Dr. Chalmers Whale." 

"Oh," said Tad, smiling, "I ought to have remembered. 
According to report you are the unofficial representative 
of the President." 

"That's newspaper stuflF," replied the other, smiling, 
and added, "and you are supposed to be a gun-runner and 
smuggler." 

" That's newspaper stuflF !" responded Tad, easily. " Sit 
down. Doctor, won't you?" 

"Thanks. You're a Princeton man, I think," ventured 
the diplomat. 

"Almost." 

"Oh, you didn't graduate. Loafed through college, 
I suppose." 

"No, sir, I was one of the busiest men who ever went 
through Princeton, or nearly through. My activities 

1137] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

were so well known that a diploma was looked upon as 
superfluous, and I had got so used to the idea of the dis- 
card that when it was announced that the faculty had 
loosened a hole or two to let me through* there was such 
a spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm — well, it de- 
veloped into a celebration. The following morning, hear- 
ing that the diplomas were being handed out, I was so 
eager to get mine that I tried to ride into the sacred 
edifice on horseback to get it, and I pretty nearly 
did it, only the sacred edifice did not happen to be 
built that way.'^ 

*'And that didn't make a hit with the faculty, eh?" 

*'No, no appreciation for originality. That's what's 
the matter with our universities." 

"So you were left outside the breastworks, eh?" 

"Yes. I didn't care a rap for their old diploma, but 
it broke my dear old dad's heart, and he was a real 
Princeton man." 

There was a slight pause, and Tad kept wondering: 
Where is all this leading?" 
So you're not exactly crazy about the man up in the 
White House?" suggested the doctor. 

" Oh, I just love him to death ! I guess I hold the record 
for voting against him." 

"Well, you know, he doesn't speak ill of you," smiled 
the doctor. 

"Me? He doesn't know I'm on earth." 

"He never forgets anything." 

"No, nor learns anything, like the Bourbons." 

"Do you know his shorthand?" said Whale, with a 

quizzical look, producing a memorandum. 

"I know bis longhand, all right," said Tad, reflectively, 

im] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Will you allow me?'* asked the doctor. 

" Go ahead. You can't hurt my feelings, not at this 
late day." 

"From some notes upon matters connected with your 
class. [Beading] 'Thaddeus Castleman: Reckless, mis- 
chievous, full of deviltry, mostly due to animal spirits, 
but straight, brave* — ** 

"You're stringing me. Doctor." 

"Listen! *In the old days would have made a fine 
upstanding pirate or buccaneer' — " 

"Say, that's all right," said Tad, with a grin. 

"'Ought to have gone to West Point or Annapolis. 
Faculty, contrary to my advice, took horse affair too 
seriously. I managed to get his diploma put through a 
year later.'" 

"Really?'* gasped Tad, in a strange conflict of feeling. 
" I didn't know that. Honest?** 

"So, you see," said the visitor, "you*re mistaken about 
the President.** 

"Well," said Tad, dreamily, "it doesn't matter 
now. My! that was a million years ago! But, say. 
Doctor, what's all this got to do with the transit of 
Venus?'* 

"Do you remember the day you faced a firing-squad 
at Vera Cruz?** 

"Remember it?** cried Tad, rising. "Remember it? 
Say, it makes my spine crawl even yet to think of it." 

"You got away, didn't you? How did you do it?" 

"Why, somebody must have passed those greedy 
Greasers a bunch of money." 

"Do you know who did it?'* 

"Not the remotest idea.** 

[189] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

•*WeU, I did." 

Tad reached out his hand to the other; but the latter 
hastened to add: 

"But, you don't owe me anything. I was merely act- 
ing for a certain party up in the White House." 



t 






CHAPTER Xm 

A BOUT the first two words we learn in any foreign 
AV language are. How much? 

-* *• Even in our own tongue those words come 
shortly after mamma and papa. Experience had taught 
Thaddeus Castleman that ahnost everything has a price- 
mark attached to it. Even the most delicate and elusive 
things are tagged, if you examine them closely. Ever 
since the distinguished-looking gentleman had entered 
Tad had been asking himself the meaning of it all. 

The doctor's last remark had seemed to lead innocently 
and invitingly forward, but Tad bowed deferentially, rose, 
walked to the bow window, and looked out on barbarous 
Washington, seeing nothing. 

The price-mark? As he stood at the window he re- 
called an experience in an effort to rent an apartment 
in New York. Standing as he did now, he had asked 
of the negro janitor: 

"What is the exposure?" 

The answer was, "A hundred and fifty dollars a month, 
sah." 

Sunshine or shadow — ^it's tagged with a price-mark. 

Whale was too clever a diplomat to hurry. He waited 

patiently until Tad turned from darkest Washington and 

asked quietly: 

10 I Ml 1 



PEACE AND QUIET 

**How did you know anything about me and my 
troubles?'* 

"You correspond with a young lady in Washington, I 
think. If you try you may reccdleet her name, but the 
young lady in question did not have enough money to 
buy your freedom, for you were an expensive luxury, 
Mr. Castleman. The Pi*esident has an emergency fund 
that he can dip into on occasion.'' 

"The President?" 

"Yes." 

There was a pause, and then Tad whistled softly a 
bar of — "Fairy tales, fairy tales, I hear them every- 
where." 

"You don't believe me?" 

"What do you want. Doctor?" 

"May I use your telephone?" 

"Certainly." 

"Hello!" said the doctor, softly, to the 'phone. "Yes, 
give me XX-YY." 

"Sounds like geometry," interjected Tad. "StiJrs up 
unpleasant memories." 

"Yes," continued Whale to the 'phone. "Yes, I'm 
well aware of that, just get it, will you?" Turning to 
Tad," Do you know the President's voice?" 

Tad raised his eyes in unhappy protest. "Do I 
know his voice? O Lord! Say, I was jackass enough 
to elect his coiu*se in Senior year — ^thought I'd make 
a hit with him by the compliment! Do I know his 
voice?" 

Dr. Whale had established a connection. "Yes, this is 

Whale, Mr. Secretary. Will you ask him to step to the 

'phone? He'll understand." 

li«l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

There was a pause that somehow assumed importance, 
then the visitor motioned to Tad to take his place, handed 
him the receiver, and said: 

"Now/' 

"Hello!" said Tad, and he was annoyed with himself 
to detect his voice vibrating with excitement. "Hello! 
Is — ^is this the Doctor — eh — Govern — ^Mr. — ^Hello, Mr. 
Presideiiit! How are you? Yes, it's Castleman. How 
did you know? My voice? After all these years? Say, 
I haven't forgotten yours, either ! Elected you, you know, 
in Senior year. Oh, my! one of the ree-grets of my life! 
[To Whale.] Says I taught him a lot of things. I'll bet I 
did. [To 'phone.] How's that? Want to serve my 
country? Oh, I don't know. I'm not crazy about the 
darned old country. I think it's about the Umit, but 
anything I can do for you. Doctor, that doesn't involve 
too great a sacrifice on my part! Say, you couldn't get 
me an appointment as army chaplain in some good five 
regiment, could you? I want a job, a job! [To Whale.] 
I handed him a laugh. Can you hear him? [To 'phone.] 
No, honest! I want to settle down — the simple life and 
lots of it. Say, thank you for the old dip. Sorry it 
came too late for dad to know. I'd like to ask you some* 
thing. Dr. Whale here says that you — Well, you 
know that Vera Cruz aflfair? He says you did it. Is 
that right?" 

There was a slight pause during which the air became 
electrically charged, and Tad's voice was thick with emo- 
tion as he said to the 'phone: 

"Well, say, me for you and Old Nassau! Come on now 
and let's get together. [To Whale.] Better get in on this, 
Doctor." 

[148] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

And Tad stood and sang into the receiver, with which 
he beat time to enable Dr. Whale to join in the grand old 
hymn that stirs every Princeton man's blood always and 
everywhere the wide world over: 

"Long life to Old Nassau, my boys, hurrah, burrah» hurrah! 
Her sons will give while they may live 
Long life to Old Nassau!'* 



.^» 



As the last note of the chorus die^ the two men joined in 
the concluding cheer. Tad put up the receiver, the two 
men shook hands with the usual crazy enthusiasm, 
laughing hysterically, and Tad sank into a seat, got out 
his handkerchief, and performed upon his nose with 
excessive enthusiasm. When he could resume the proc- 
esses of ordinary life he remarked casually to Whale: 

" W. W. used to be tenor on the Glee Club. His voice is 
just a bit on the blink now. Well, having got that oflF our 
chest, let us sit down and discuss our future. I'd like to 
say at the start that I'm modest — 'most anything that has 
a salary attached, you understand? Everybody knows 
that a criminal life is unpleasant and unprofitable, but 
no one will beHeve that you want to give it up; but, on 
the level, I'm tired of being hunted and shot at and 
banged around. If the collectorship of the port of New 
York—" 

It was evident that Whale was not listening to his 
chatter, so Tad remarked: 

"The President says that you think I can be of service 

to you, and that if I can he will take it as a personal 

favor, and perhaps I will be doing my country a service 

besides." 

11441 



PEACE AND QUIET 

After a pause in which he seemed to be wondering just 
how to begin, the doctor arose, came over, and, drawing 
a chair close to Tad, spoke in a tone inaudible six feet 
away. 

"Mr. Castleman, I must ask you to consider this inter- 
view absolutely confidential." 

Tad bowed, thinking he saw the salesman jBngering the 
price-tag. 

"You know Senator Cactus and General Enrique 
Galboa?" 

"SUghtly." 

"They have just been here." 

Tad was startled, but he managed to be non-committal. 
"Well?" ^ 

"You have been associated with them in — ^well, let's 
call it business." 

Tad neither affirmed nor denied. 

"Now we can take care of the Senator. It's our little 
friend Galboa that worries us." 

"Galboa?" echoed Tad, sitting tight and letting the 
other do all the talking. 

"The President tells me I am safe in putting myself 
unreservedly in your hands," said the diplomat. 

Tad bowed. 

"Well, it was thought at one time that we needed 
a secret agent who was a Mexican, and I personally recom- 
mended Galboa, and entered into negotiations with that 
astute little person. In fact, he is in possession of letters 
of mine that might prove very disconcerting to the ad- 
ministration if made public. I find that I went much 
farther than the President intended." 

If the doctor had been unreservedly frank he might 

[145] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

have added that he not only had gone farther than the 
President intended, but that his brilliant scheme was 
absolutely unauthorized and at the earliest possible mo- 
ment repudiated — ^a fact that the censorious world would 
be reluctant to beUeve. Explanations never explain. 

Tad was sitting up. ""Galboa a secret agent of the 
United States?" he mused, aloud. 

"Yes," said the diplomat, and waited anxiously, and 
then he said, "Well, what do you think?" 

"Oh, I don't know. Galboa isn't just the breed of 
cat I would put into the cage with the pet canary," said 
Tad, as he looked off into space. 

"He played straight in your case, so far as we know," 
urged Whale. "We wouldn't have known where you 
were except for Galboa. Perhaps he did it to win our 
confidence; if so, it worked." 

How did he get out of San Juan himself?" asked Tad. 
'That's curious," said the doctor; "I was just going 
to ask you that. You have known him for a long time?" 

"Been acquainted with him for a long time," Tad ad- 
mitted. "Can't say I ever knew Enrique. You trusted 
him once. What makes you suspect him now?" 

"I'd rather not answer that, but it's a fair question 
and I'll have to, I guess. By the way, what do you think 
of the Mexican situation?" 

Tad threw up both hands. "Ask me an easy one. 
Why, it's anybody's guess, with just one absolute certainty 
— that any guess is wrong; it's an unsolvable problem.'* 

" I don't agree with you. Anyway, I thought there was 
a solution and I drew up a paper — " 

Here the U-boat diplomat began to exhibit a case 

of nerves, shifted uneasily in his seat, drew forth a 

[1461 



if 



PEACE AND QUIET 

cigar, bit oflF the end savagely, started to light it, thought 
he had, threw away the match, and smoked an miligbted 
cigar, as he continued: 

"A paper embodying some confidential proposals for 
submission to the rebels, and suggestions for guarantees 
on their part and on ours/' 

"And you let Galboa have that paper?" gasped Tad. 

"No, oh no; but I submitted its contents for his ad- 
vice and judgment, and while I was waiting for advices 
from Washington (it was while I was in Vera Cruz on 
your case), to my surprise I received a code despatch from 
Washington telling me to show the document to no one 
and return immediately to the capital." 

"And the paper? Where is it now?" 

"I don't know." 

"Don't know?" 

The doctor was uncomfortable under the implied ac- 
cusation. " Wait," he urged. " Of course, on receipt of my 
instructions I got ready at once to return home. I paid 
my hotel bill, packed my things, and prepared to leave 
Vera Cruz as quietly as possible. The last thing I did 
before leaving my room was to see that all my official 
papers were safely in my portf oho and my portfolio in my 
traveling-bag. As I left the hotel the porter tried to re- 
lieve me of my bag, but I refused to let any one put a 
hand on it but myself. It was night, and when I came 
out I beckoned to the first cab in sight, but the porter 
said something to the driver, and he said something about 
being engaged and moved away, and another man caught 
the porter's signal. I didn't think anything of that at 
the time, but ordered the driver to take me to the rail- 
road station. I was under no apprehension until all of 



PEACE AND QUIET 

a sudden I noticed that the streets looked mean and 
strange. I wasn't familiar with Vera Cruz, but I felt 
something was wrong. I leaned forward and touched the 
cabby with my cane, and asked him rather sharply where 
he was driving me? The man stopped, pretending not 
to understand, and just then I saw a vaquero ride up in 
front and bar the narrow way. Two men emerged si- 
multaneously from the shadows, one on each side of my 
hack, and covered me with their guns, muttering: 

*'*CuidadOy estrangero^ es muerte* [* Beware, stranger, it is 
death'.] The suddenness of it got me for a moment, but 
that moment was enough for another conspirator to reach 
in and try to snatch my bag from my hand. I held on 
and was dragged from the carriage. Some one sand- 
bagged me, and that's all I knew. They took everything 
I had and left me a heap in the street. They told me 
afterward that a policeman came across what was left 
of me in the early morning, put me in a cab, took me to 
police headquarters, and the chief of police brought me 
to the Consulate." 

"And the paper, the document?** asked Tad, breath- 
lessly. 

"Well, of course, the Vera Cruz police made a big fuss, 
but I've never seen or heard anything of the document 
from that day to this." 

"But where does Enrique come in?'* asked Tad, who 
had followed the story with the closest attention. 

"Galboa and the United States consul, Wadleigh, were 
the only persons in Mexico who knew of the document 
at all, and, of course, I do not suspect dear old H. T." 

"Even that doesn't prove anything against Enrique/* 

"No, only—" 

[149] 



PEACE AND QukET 



"What do you want me to do?" 

"Get those letters and find that document." 

UWn !.>> J.1 XA^. ..^4.U ««^,,« ^^^.^4. «A,»^.rwv9» 

"i^iui t get tujywucrt; iit;iiJ.' xiiuiiquc jjcsiucs^ wc 

ra lo nave vraiooa suspect we uu uut trusi uim." 

tt ------ 

"rLaveut aii^. i^utiiiiig u 

> 



What's the matter with your secret service?' 
Can't get anywhere near Enrique. Besides^ we can't 
afford to have Galboa suspect we do not trust him.' 
What's your plan?" asked Tad. 
Haven't any. Nothing but an accident will ever 
betray Galboa. It's up to you.' 
VPhat do you want me to do?' 

Trail along with him» live with him, never let him 
out of your sight, and wait for that accident; be on the 
spot to take advantage of it, and get that document.** 
Tad smiled a sickly, cynical smile not pleasant to see. 
And I came home for peace and quiet!" he said, bitterly. 
I'm not the adopted .son; I'm the legitimate son and heir 
of old Mr. Jonah for a fact. You don't know how sick 
I am of all this." 

"And you may name your own price," said the anxious 
advocate. 

Tad turned and looked at him with an angry light in 
his eyes. "Say, don't spoil it; this isn't for sale. I 
believe you said I was an expensive luxury. Well, I knew 
there was a price, and I guess I'll pay it. You may tell 
the President I will see what I can do." 






J It- • « * ' ■■ ■ • , 



CHAPTEB XIV 

AMONG newspaper men there is a well-defined preju- 
dice against the word "joumaUst/^ The reporter, 
^ however, downtrodden, badly paid, is accepted as 
a really useful person, a necessary evU. It is the business 
of the reporter to observe accurately and reproduce his 
observations clearly and vividly. The principal occupa- 
tion of the journalist appears to be the solving of insolv- 
able problems. 

The journalist spends a few days in Salt Lake City 
and solves the Mormon problem. He rides swiftly 
through the Orient and construes the Balkan enigma. 
He knows how India ought to be governed, how Ireland 
must be tranquilized. He dips gracefully into Mexico 
and emerges with plans and specifications to save that 
unhappy country from itself. When world problems do 
not press for immediate elucidation he prances into the 
mad muddle of domestic perils, and his trusty fountain- 
pen becomes the magician^s divining-rod. 

There had evidently been a fundamental misunder- 
standing as to Dr. Whale's position. The President had 
accepted him as a trained observer who could be trusted 
to see clearly and report accurately. The doctor had 
accepted himself as a journalist. There is an illusive dig- 
nity and importance to the printed word, an importance 
out of all proportion to the thought involved, and men 

(150] 



-' 



PEACE AND QUIET 

who are accustomed to see their thoughts in print get an 
exaggerated idea of the importance of those thoughts, but 
the unfortunate joumaUst-diplomat was left in no doubt 
as to the President's estimate of his activities. Whale knew 
that unless he could recover that document his career 
was ruined. 

When Thaddeus CasUeman undertook th^ task proposed 
by Dr. Whale he was under no illusions as to the full mean- 
ing (d his decision. It meant going back into Mexico. 

Now, Daniel came out of the lions* den once, but 
there is no record that he trifled with his immunity. 
When they passed up the entrte he announced that the 
meal was over, and he did not stay to hear the after^ 
dinner speeches. The three gentlemen who were agents 
for an asbestos fire-proofing did not make the burning 
fiery furnace a habit. A pitcher that throws itself at the 
well is inviting trouble. The divinity that undoubtedly 
protects fools suffers from overwork and has occasionally 
to take a vacation. 

Tad accepted the implied obligation that he ought to 
be willing to pay with his life for his life, but he resented 
most cordially the distinguished-looking gentleman whose 
colossal blunder he was invited to remedy. The diplomat 
realized that he had won by a very narrow margin, and 
he was too shrewd to show elation or even relief, but his 
attitude was one of deference, understanding, and un- 
spoken gratitmle. During the ensuing silence he dis- 
covered that he was smoking an unlighted cigar, and as 
he reached for a match he made a swift study of the 
Castleman topography. He was much reassured by the 
large mouth and the firm chm. 

The President had told him that whatever Castleman 

1151] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

undertook he would go through with it to the end. That 
opinion the diplomat now shared. 

Finally Whale said, very sincerely, "Of course, we have 
no right to expect you to do this unless — " 

Tad held up his hand impatiently. He had met a lot 
of professional patriots both north and south of the Rio 
Grande, and he had supreme contempt for the parrot 
patter of the politician. It he had been asked why he 
undertook this dangerous and thankless task he would 
have said, bluntly: 

"Because I'm all kinds of a danm fool, so don't let's 
talk about it." But, at the same time, the thought that 
it was in the power of a foreign adventurer to injure our 
country filled him with smoldering wrath. After walking 
up and down the room for some time in silence he turned 
to his visitor and said: 

"Of course I must have an absolutely free hand." 

"That's understood," replied the other, emphatically. 

"And I will accept enough money to pay my debts, all 
my expenses, and nothing more." 

"That's up to you; and of course, our secret is yours 
ahne, to share with no one." 

"That's understood," said Tad, with some heat* 

"Do you want any assistance?" 

"No." 

"You can have any one we have in the service." 

"The more that are in on a thing of this kind the less 
the chance of success," said Tad, with conviction. 

The diplomat bowed gravely. "Have you any plans?" 
he asked. 

"No, not yet, and if I had I wouldn't let my right foot 
know where my left foot was going." 

[152] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Just then there was a knock at the hall door, and Mrs. 
Getts walked into the room with a bunch of manuscript 
in her hand and a fluttering air of emotional expectancy. 
Both gentlemen rose, and as Tad took her hand in his 
he saw his plan, saw it clearly and definitely, and he al- 
most laughed aloud. 

"Tad," she began, "I was told by the Senator that—" 

He stopped her by a slight warning gesture of the eye- 
brows. He preferred to play a lone hand in this difficult 
and perilous game. Without knowing why, she was 
quick to take his hint and cover the wrong lead with 
feminine facility. 

"Why, Dr. Whale!" she beamed, as she gave him her 
hand cordially. "You know. Tad, the doctor here is not 
only a journalist, he's a man of real Uterary distinction." 

"Oh, Mrs. Getts," protested the unhappy man, scent- 
ing trouble, "permit me to congratulate you on your 
recent election to the head of the Universal Peace Society 
— ^a very great honor." 

"Thank yoti," she said, graciously, bearing her blushing 
honors thick upon her. "Now isn't this fortunate, this 
chance meeting?" she cried, with girlish enthusiasm. 
"You know. Doctor, I am to deliver my inaugural address 
here in this hotel to-nightw And I should so love your 
opinion," and she held out to him with the tenderness of 
a mother a roll of manuscript that would have made a 
braver man than Whale flinch. 

"Oh, Mrs. Gretts," he gasped, with a smile in which 
eager anticipation was chastened with resignation, "I'm 
afraid I must be going." 

"Oh, only the peroration," she urged, sweetly; "it 
won't take a minute." 

[153] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

**Why, of course the doctor will be delighted to hear 
it/* exclaimed Tad, nursing a well-defined grudge and 
glpd of a chance to gratify it. 

**I should so appreciate your criticism, Doctor," she 
pleaded. 

"She means your approval. Doctor." 

"Oh no, not at all. I'm not subservient to approval," 
she protested, loftily, as she settled herself to the agree- 
able task. 

Tad caught the helpless and bewildered journalist by 
the shoulders, put him gently but firmly into the electric 
chair, and waved to Mrs. Getts to turn on the switch. 

She cleared her throat. "Of course," she gurgled, with 
an excess of modesty, "I don't suppose this address will 
be epoch-making." 

Both men displayed signs which might be taken for 
dissent or distress. 

"Still — " And she gathered her audience under the 
dominion of her glance. " Trom the dawn of history — *" 
Her fine vmce rang with oratorical fervor, then she turned 
from her paper to say to her audience, colloquially, "You 
know I begin back here in the primeval ooaee — " 

The two men exchanged a look of apprehension. 

"Oh, I*m not asking you to go as far as that — ^just 
the few closing words. I think they're rather good." 
She resumed her reading. 

"*From the dawn of history, from the morning of the 
day on which the first prehistoric male choked the first 
prehistoric female into physical submission, this has 
been a man-made world, of men, by men, for men.**^ 

"Bryan!" interpolated Tad, with appreciation. 
' Mrs. Gretts turned upon him a look of withering com** 



PEACE AND QUIET 

miseration as she said, "My deaf boy> Bryan didn't 
originate everything Lincoln ever saidl" Then she re- 
sumed: 

***And eveiy one agrees that it had beell fek continuing) 
a colossal^ a grotesque failure!'" 

The audience was ^uick to catch the significance ol 
the oratorical pause and applauded generously* 

"Magnificent," miu-mured Whde, impersonally to him- 
self, to the ceiling, and to Tad* The speaker bowed in 
slight acknowledgment. 

"*In a state of nature,'" she continued,*** it is the male 
who wears the plumage and the female who does the 
work. In the social state the male has handed us a few 
tail feathers in order to betray us to our own vanity. 
Keep the tail feathers, if you Uke, but rise above them. 
Keep all you have and can get and demand more — ^that 
is Progress! 

***Man has had his chance and he hs^ made this the 
worst of all possible worlds. Now we take command.'" 

In the pause Tad again tempted fate with, "And the 
female of the species is more deadly than the male." 
Nothing saved him from obliteration but the movement 
of Whale, who was detected in a sly reach for his watch. 

She hiuried on: 

"Just a word! [Reading.] * We will advance to accom- 
plishment, and this is our program: We will eliminate 
the saloon! We will piuify politics! We will cure the 
social evil! We will abolish poverty! We Will estab- 
lish righteousness in business, and, before all, we will 
crucify war!'" 

"Well, that's Btyan," objected Tad. "That crucify 
stuff." 

[IM] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"That is not. That is my own. Well, how would 
this do? *'We will impale war on the bayonet of peace?' ** 

"Very strong/* murmured the doctor. "Very strong.'* 

"Quite a little program, isn*t it?** said Tad, thought- 
fully. "Promises to keep you occupied for some time. 
I was just wondering if it would leave any of you any 
time to get married?** 

"Oh yes,** she said, eagerly. "I*m glad you reminded 
me of that. That*s in another place. ^Marriage, as we 
know it, is a broken-down institution. We shall substi- 
tute for this time-dishonored, worn-out social figment 
the new marriage, the perfect marriage — * ** 

"The prophylactic marriage,'* interpolated Tad, "the 
antiseptic marriage, the union of two souls with a doctor's 
certificate.** 

"Tad, you're a pest!" she pouted. 

"Very comprehensive,'* murmured Whale. "Very.** 

"I*m glad you both indorse it so enthusiastically," she 
said. 

"I'm afraid I really must be going,** boldly asserted 
the doctor, moving to the door. 

"Oh, stay and hear the rest of it," urged Tad. 

"Already past my appointment. Sorry! Extraordi- 
nary, Mrs. Getts, very wonderful — ^has left me quite 
speechless." And the doctor made his exit with a haste 
bordering on panic. 

"Nice man,** she murmured, gazing aflfectionately at 
her manuscript, "so discriminating, and, everybody 
says, very much behind the scenes in this Mexican 
muddle.** 

"Excuse me a moment. Bo,** said Tad, taking up the 
*phone. "Hello, hello! the clerk, please. Mr. Simmons? 

1156] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Castleman! Yes, send my account to room 874. Yes, 
and then connect me with room 874." 

Mrs. Getts caught the word "account" with quick 
alarm. "Now, Tad,*' she stammered, "I have left several 
important committee meetings down-stairs, and—" 

"Just a moment. Bo. I have something very impor- 
tant to say to you — something I couldn't say to you while 
Whale was here. [To the 'phone.] Room 874? Yes, 
this is Castleman. That you. General? Yes, I've thought 
it over. All right. You and the Senator come up. Mrs. 
Getts is here. Yes, I think you'll find that my sugar 
stock will come to considerably more than the small 
account I am sending up for your perusal. Yes, right 
away." 

"Now, Tad," said Mrs. Getts, rising, "I'm sorry, but 
I'm broke, as usual, and I cannot let you have a cent. 
Besides, I don't approve of your utterly reckless — " 

"Can I lend you anything, Bo?" 

"Why, no, no, thank you. Tad," she said, humbly, but 
with obvious relief. 

"It won't inconvenience me in the least," he suggested, 
with solicitude, "and I suppose you find it difficult to keep 
up your position in society upon — " 

"Difficult?" she almost jiunped on the word. "Diffi- 
cult?" 

Tad had opened up a vista through her past which 
thronged with dumb wrongs clamoring for expression. 
Tad and his petty existence were forgotten. 

"Difficult?" she repeated, with real eloquence. "Did 
you ever try being an army widow on the pension this 
imspeakable Government gives its heroes?" • 

"No, Bo, no. I've tried 'most everything else. Under 

11 [157] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"It is respectable." 

"Couldn't I accept the bequest and then sell out?'* 

"DiflBcult thing to sell, because the returns are largely 
what you make them. Requires initiative. Properly 
pushed, there's a fortune in it, as uncle has demonstrated." 

"I'd have to resign the presidency of the Peace So- 
ciety." 

"Perhaps not. Whence comes Peace? Why, out of 
war by force," he said, speaking in the language of the 
turf. 

"Tad, under no circumstances wiU I sacrifice principle 
to expediency; but there must be some way to accept 
this legacy and turn it into clean money." 

"Where there is a will. Bo, there is always a way." 

There was a soft, cautious knock at the door, and 
Senator Cactus eflfulged into the room, with Galboa 
trailing in his phosphorescent wake. They both had the 
well-pleased air of those who are privileged to say with- 
out fear of contradiction, I told you so! 



CHAPTER XV 

HAVING assumed responsibflities of the gravest 
nature, and deliberately challenged difficulties 
and dangers which would have sobered .the or- 
dinary man, it was natural for Thaddeus Castleman to 
react against their gravity, to mock at his own seriousness, 
to trifle and play the clown. 

Dangers always appealed to his sense of humor. He 
did not purposely play the fool to deceive, but so far as 
the ordinary observer was concerned it was a perfect dis- 
guise. No one took T. C. seriously. 

Most people saw only the laughing eyes and over- 
looked the firm chin. When Cactus and Galboa en- 
tered the room with an air of triumph, with the provoking 
complacency of those who know you better than you 
know yourself. Tad saw that he could play them at will 
until he gave them the gaflF. 

"Mrs. Getts," said Tad, "I think you know the Senator. 
Allow me to present to you El Sefior Don General Enrique 
Galboa." 

The little dandy flashed upon her a look of undisguised 
admiration, took her hand, kissed it, bowed low, and 
murmured, sweetly: 

"Your cousin, 'ere, Coronel Castleman, 'ee tell to me 

that you are the Presidente of the Society of Peace Uni- 

[161] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

versal, the George Washington Chapiter. I am 'onored 
to be also." 

"Yes," twittered Tad. "The general belongs to the 
South and Central American Peace Society, Mexican 
Chapter. He's just an active volcano of peace and good- 
will. K you put a sword into his hand it turns right into 
a plowshare or a pnming-hook, and there is nothing up 
his sleeve." 

The Senator raised a flabby hand in gentle protest at 
this discordant levity. "The general," he said to Mrs. 
Getts, "has always had a sympathetic connection with 
your Red Cross movement — " 

"Only with the general," interpolated Tad, "it goes 
double. He is easily Knight Commander of the Double 
Cross. Eh, General?" 

The general showed his beautiful teeth in a smile of 
the utmost good humor. "Your cousin — 'ee always is 
got to make 'ees little joke." 

"I am proud to know you. General," she said, ignoring 
Tad's cackle. "I have long had a deep interest in your 
unhappy country — " 

"For Heaven's sake, don't start him on that!" ex- 
claimed Tad, as the general exhibited symptoms of burst- 
ing into flame. "Let's get down to business. Please sit 
down. Now, Cousin Bo, I am associated with Don 
Enrique here and the Senator — " 

" Leave me out of this, please," promptly interposed the 
Senator. 

Leave him out of it, please," suavely echoed Tad. 

Understand he is here but not present. Well, I am in- 
terested with a number of people, who shall be nameless, 
in one of those little Mexican properties comprising about 

[162] 



it 



PEACE AND QUIET 

four billion acres, more or less. We have a cattle or two, 
a pinch of sugar, a bunch of mines, and a few miscellane- 
ous obligations like oil, rubber, and coffee. We have also 
insulted the proud Castilian spirit with a soap-factory 
at Chihuahua. Now we have industriously tried to live 
at peace with all men, and it has resulted in our beingrobbed 
and killed by the Federals in the morning and by the 
Insurrectos in the afternoon; so to eliminate one-half of 
the experience we have decided to align ourselves with 
at least one side, and so at present we are in cahoots with 
the rebels." 

"Leave me out of this, please," again warned the 
Senator. 

"The Senator never admits being in on anything until 
the cat has landed. Now, Bo, you have something to 
sell for which there is no market except what is made 
and provided by a benign Providence, aided and abetted 
by enterprising people like the Senator and ourselves. 
Oh, all right," he added, as he saw the statesman's signs 
of distress. "Leave him out of it, please. Now we, or 
rather I, have arranged a killing." 

"A killing?" echoed the president of the Peace Society. 

"Let us hope for the best. Now, you can dispose of 
several car-loads of your old junk — " 

"Junk?" objected Mrs. Getts, with the premonitory 
symptoms of ownership. 

"Well, sefiora," said the little Meiqcan, coming gallantly 
to her discomfiture, "old, second-'and, obsolute, how 
you say? — obsolete weapon — 'ee ees junk all right, no 
68 verdadf* 

"Well," retorted Tad, turning upon him as if he re- 
sented assistance, "you Mexicans can miss just as wdl 

[163] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

with one of our guns as with the best weapon made, and 
if you hit a man over the head with one of our rifles it's 
just as eflFective." 

"See here. Tad," Mrs. Getts asked, with some asperity, 
"what are you doing, buying or selling? Where do you 
come in on this, anyway?" 

"Why, I get a ten-per-cent. commission on all you sell, 
and a ditto on all they buy, and then I get a thrill for God 
and country, and it's risky. See?" 

"But how does this interest me?" 

"Why, you own these hospital stores. I must look to 
you for my commission, and these gentlemen — Cleave him 
out of it, please — only pay on delivery." 

"No," she said, with firmness, "I'll sell out ^e whole 
thing, lock, stock, and barrel." 

"No one wants it. Bo. Delivery — ^that's the important 
thing. Of course, this involves smuggling these goods 
over the border." 

"Smuggling?" she exclaimed, indignantly. "Why, I 
wouldn't be connected with such a thing! The idea!" 
Mrs. Getts was insulted, not grosslv insulted, but in- 
sulted. 

"The last time you came home from Europe, Bo," per- 
sisted Tad, "you put something over on the Customs- 
House, didn't you?" 

"Well, I don't care," she said, with feminine suj^riority 
to the obvious. "That's a diflFerent thing entirely. They 
have no right! It's idiotic — ^perfectly idiotic!" she 
floundered. 

"Well, it's the same idiotic here. Bo.** 

"Whatever this stupid, crazy old Government does," 
she continued, "is wrong — ^that's a certainty." 

(164J 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"And no dissenting voice!'* he exclaimed, with stimu- 
lating sympathy. "Now you're grasping the idea." 

"Still," she boggled, "I don't beUeve in breaking the 
laws, except perhaps the English laws. I believe in up- 
holding the law and the Constitution. My country, 
right or wrong, my country!" 

Enrique vivad, and the others applauded discreetly. 

"Of course this won't appeal to you. Bo," said Tad, 
thoughtfully, "but it's a small fortune for you." 

She did not appear to have heard him, but as no one 
spoke she finally managed to get voice enough to say in 
a semi-conscious way, "About how much?" 

Tad turned to the Senator, who turned to Enrique, who 
whispered to^Tad, who said to Mrs. Getts: 

"Why, I should say at least seventy-five thousand 
dollars." 

If Mrs. Getts heard what was said she was too well 
bred to show anything but interest of the most detached 
and impersonal sort. 

"Sefiora," softly purred Enrique, "it ees easy, like the 
rolling over the log, *ees all ready — ^now!" he urged, and 
his enthusiasm was infectious. 

"Tad," she appealed, "I couldn't do a thing like this; 
I couldn't!" 

"See here," he said, getting pen and paper, motioning 
to them all to gather about the table, and drawing a rough 
map, "here's the river, the boimdary line. Here's Ta- 
basco on the Mexican side, and here is Hot Dog on the 
American side, and just outside of Hot Dog is Fort Gordon, 
where the Ninety-fourth Cavalry is stationed. Now we 
are friendly with the customs oflScers at Hot Dog, and 
we know wd like the United States consul at Tabasco, 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and we know, or we think we do, how to manage the com- 
mandant at Fort Gordon. As the general says, it really 
is disgustingly easy.'* 

"How much did you say I'd get. Tad?" she asked, 
dreamily. 

"As soon as the hospital stores go over the border I'll 
see to it that some one — ^no, leave the Senator out of this — 
hands you a certified check for seventy-five thousand 
dollars." 

There was a long pause, the men sitting back and re- 
spectfully waiting. Mrs. Getts seemed to be oflF some- 
where in the First National Bank of Elysium coimting it 
dollar by dollar. As she arrived back in Washington, 
Enrique was ready for her with a paper which he placed 
before hier with the sweetest deference and respect. 
You will please to sign just *ere," he murmured. 
Is it all right, Tad?" she asked, referring it to him. 
Why, yes, I think so. This is to satisfy your own 
lawyer, apparently. You just agree to the carrying out of 
an agreement made by Uncle Hank." 

She nodded with a sigh, as much as to say that one 
ought always to hold as sacred the wishes of the dead, and 
she signed it, religiously. 

There was a ring at the outer door and a waiter entered 
with the tea service, followed almost immediately by Miss 
Tranquillity Buck, her father, and Lieutenant Fletcher. 

When Tranquillity Buck breezed into the room Tad 
knew that he had had up to that moment a most inade- 
quate idea of his sacrifice. She was more beautiful, more 
fascinating, more bewildering than ever. Being so near 
and yet so far had seemed to him utterly intolerable, 
but now being near at all seemed bliss enough. It is 

[166] 



« 



PEACE AND QUIET 

difficult to locate paradise by number and street. The 
unbearable of to-day becomes the desirable of to-morrow. 

Here at least he could see her, hear her voice, look into 
her eyes, touch her hand, and he had volunteered to turn 
his back on this paradise to follow the personal devil 
that had Enrique Galboa in control, and trail along 
wherever that malefic demon chose to lead. And he 
must go alone, and without her knowledge or approval or 
the sad solace of good-by. What would she think? 
What could she think? Perhaps this was their last meet- 
ing — ^the last! The thought made Tiim cold and numb, 
but he had put his hand to the j)low and there must be no 
faltering. No one would have known that he had received 
a body blow. No one of those present knew that he was 
staggering. 

"Hurray! " he yelled, as her small hand disaiq)eared in 
both of his. "So nice of you to come." And he knew 
that he must play the cap and bells to the end of the 
act. And then, without a trace of emotion he introduced 
General Galboa to her, to the colonel, and to Mr. Fletcher. 

"We were just waiting imtil you arrived to sit down to 
a little bridge," eflFulged the Senator, with the ready alibi. 

"Yes," laughed Tad. "You'll find the cards and table 
in the alcove up there. Miss Buck, will you stoke the 
tea boiler?" 

Enrique raised a plaintive little hand and rolled his 
eyes in beautiful despair. "Sefiora, seflorita, sefiors!" 
he said, "I am desolate to go, but — con su permessor* 

He laid his hand on his heart, bowed low, and was gone. 

"Mrs. Getts," said the Senator, "will you be my 
partner?" 

"Certainly, Senator." 

[167] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"All right, waiter. Thank you. We'll take care of this," 
said Tad, dismissing the attendant and assisting Miss 
Buck with the preparations. "They're waiting for you. 
Colonel," he burbled, sweetly, to the old soldier. 

"Yes, in a moment," said the latter, dryly; "I want to 
say something to you first — something I've wanted to 
say for a long time." 

Tad smiled apprehensively. 

"My boy, I knew your father and your beautiful 
mother, and I think I owe it to them to say to you that 
I think this — ^this free-lance thing is altogether disrepu- 
table." 

"I quite agree with you, sir." 

"Father, Tad has come home to reform. Haven't you. 
Tad?" said TranquilUty, sweetly initerposing on behalf of 
helpless impudence. 

"Yes," said Tad, slowly. "Yes, that's what I came 
home for — ^peace and quiet." 

"Well, I'm glad of that," said the colonel, pompously. 
"There is only one excuse for a soldier, my boy, that he 
should serve his country and his flag — ^at a ridiculous 
recompense, to be sure! — ^but an irregular, an amateur? 
Bah! He is beneath contempt and beyond the pale. I 
do not blame any one for shooting him on sight and with- 
out a trial. Any time a Mexican gentleman takes the 
trouble to shoot one of them for me, I shall send him my 
compUments, sir." 

"Quite right. Colonel," assented Tad.- 

"Waiting for you. Colonel," called Mrs. Getts. 

"They're waiting for you. Colonel," urged Tad. 

"Yes, yes," and the colonel joined the card-party with 
reluctance. 

[168] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Tad looked after him sadly. "What's that the Scrip- 
tures say about — *He that taketh a hint is greater than 
he that taketh a city?"' And Tad appUed himself unto 
refreshment, albeit glorified by the presence of divinity. 
If one has had nothing to eat all day one niay, perhaps, 
have an appetite for breakfast by five o'clock in the 
afternoon. Tad seized a sandwich and made a violent 
incursion upon it. 

"Tran," he mumbled through the food, "I'm glad the 
colonel's views are not universal. I wouldn't be here." 

"Tad, you're an engaging rascal," she said, with re- 
luctant admiration. 

"Not to you," he said. "I'd like to be, and unless you 
promise to marry me I shall go off and get killed again, 
and some day it 'U take." 

"Don't you think you're absiu*d to ask any woman to 
marry you?'* 

" I do. I know I am. But I'm not asking her to marry 
me, only to promise to marry me.'* 

"Bear you in mind, as it were? Do nothing until you 
hear from me." 

"Wait for me, Tran," he said, softly. "You know, one 
of these days I'm going to finish my term in the Wilder- 
ness. Some day I'll be due to go over into the Promised 
Land. Wait for me, Tran, won't you?" 

"I shall never marry," she said, quietly. 

"Which?" 

"Not while my father lives. I wonder if you'll under- 
stand? You see, to father I'm a child, an infant, a baby 
— always will be, I guess; but in reahty it is father who 
is the child. So long as mother lived she took care of 
him, and he never knew. Now he is absolutely dependent 

[169] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

on me, and so I shall never marry while my father 
lives." 

During the silence that brooded over this ultimatum 
Tad turned and looked at the ardent soldier with his 
sanguine temperament and complexion. 

"And the colonel seems to be in robust health, too," 
he said, with a sigh. "Dear me!" 

"Why, Tad, you dreadful person!" 
So, it's me for the waiter?" he added, absently. 
No," she said, "I wouldn't ask that of any one. I 
have told you because I wanted you to know and because 
I won't have the opportimity again. We're going to 
leave Washington." 

"Leave Washington? Really? When? How? Why?" 

"Why, our chief has been asked to stop these smug- 
gling operations on the border, and dad has been picked 
out as the man to do it, and you know dad. When that 
old Quaker gets into the saddle there will be no more 
smuggling in his immediate vicinity — ^believe me." 

"The old lion of the Forty-third Cavahy, eh? So 
dad is on the war-path, eh? Two lumps, please," he said, 
as he held out his cup, "Where do you expect to be 
stationed?" 

"We take command at Fort Gordon." 

The cup fell out of Tad's hands. 

"What made you do that, you stupid?" 

"Oh, just dreaming." 

"Dreaming of what?" 

"Peace and quiet — ^that's all, just peace and quiet," 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE day following the events just narrated was a 
busy one for Thaddeus Castleman. After ar- 
ranging with Dr. Whale for a letter of credit for 
a couple of thousand dollars and drawing five hundred 
dollars in cash. Tad went to Senator Cactus's oflSces and 
presented himself to the hired discourager. He foimd 
that young man remembered him perfectly, and was not 
only wilhng, but almost Oriental in his eagerness to serve 
Mr. Castleman in any way possible. 

All Thaddeus wanted was the name and address of the 
distinguished-looking old gentleman who was such an 
intimate friend of the Senator's — the one with the little 
white goatee and mustache. The hired discourager was 
a bit hazy as to the intimate friend of the Senator's, but 
with a little assistance from Tad he finally thought he 
could find it, and he did, both the name and address. 

Somewhat later in the day Thaddeus again appeared 
at the Senator's oflSces and was ushered into the great 
man's presence without delay. 

"Well, my son?" inquired the statesman, with his 
automatic smile. 

" Why, Senator, I just dropped in to tell you that your 

old and honored friend, General Henry Clay Overman, is 

down at the door in a taxi, waiting to thank you for yowt 

1171] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

kindness and to tell you good-by. I thought maybe 
you'd like to go down and kind of give him the glad hand 
and wish him God-speed. Think it would kind of please 
the old gentleman. Don't you think so? He wanted to 
come up, but I thought you'd rather go down." 

The automatic smile stayed on, but with some difficulty. 
The Senator's eyes blinked foolishly as he repeated, in a 
weak voice, " General Overman, you said?" 

"Yes, you know the general; he has a crazy idea he 
wants to go back home to die among his own people and 
all that sort of rot, and on the way to the station he 
positively insisted that he had to stop and say good-by 
to you and thank you for all your kindness to him." 

The huge machinery of the Senatorial mind worked 
slowly. "My kindness?'.' he repeated, vacantly. 

"Yes, the ticket and the little purse with the small gift 
of a hundred dollars in it, for auld lang syne. You see, 
the general couldn't accept thq^e things from a stranger, 
but from an old friend, why, that's another thing, isn't it?" 

"Well, Mr. Castleman," said the Senator, with growing 
irritation, "you seem to have managed this aflFair very 
successfully so far; I think I am safe in leaving it to you 
to the end." 

"No, I don't think so. It isn't a great deal to go down 
to the taxi and shake the old man by the hand and let 
him think he's got one friend left in the world, and I think 
I'll have to insist on your doing it. No man who asks 
favors, as you do, can afford to refuse to reciprocate." 

And the Senator went and played his little part with 
modesty and discretion, and Tad drove away with the 
man who had stayed too long in Washington, and put him 
on the train going south. 

1172] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Then Thaddeus went to a fashionable jewelry-shop and 
bought a lady's wrist-watch and a very beautiful gold 
and platinum locket set with sapphires and diamonds, 
and when the clerk asked him if he wanted any inscription 
put inside the locket he blushed furiously and said> 
weakly: 

"Yes." 

And as the salesman looked up, pencil in hand. Tad 
nervously said: 

"I have written the address and the — ^ah, the words 
you'll find them in here, and when it is completed 
please^send it to the hotel. Crood day." And he hurried 
away. When the clerk opened the folded paper he was 
not startled, for Mr. Castleman had not succeeded in com- 
posing anything very original. There were only three 
words — ^I Love You — and the address was the Arlington 
Hotel; but Tad almost ran out of the store for fear the 
salesman would opea the paper and see the awful secret 
before he could get away. 

Then Tad returned to the New WiUard and paid all his 
outstanding bills and wrote some letters. He was not a 
ready letter-writer, and this was a task. One was to 
Horatio Telemachus Wadleigh, Vera Cruz. Another was 
to Captain Webster of the good ship AUmquerqney and 
both contained some awkward words and checks. 

Then he telephoned to the oflSce that he would like to 
see the hotel detective. Mike came, large and lumbering. 

"You want to see me, Mr. Castleman?" he asked, 
awkwardly. 

"Yes, please sit down." And Tad oflFered him a cigar, 

and there was quite some silence. Finally Tad said, 

"Mike, it's a great thing to be human, isn't it?'* 
12 1 173 1 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"I don't know what you mean, sir." 

"And it's a great thing to be Irish." 

"Is it? Well, it ain't got me anywhere so far as I 
can see." 

"Well, then your eyesight is getting bad, Mike. Didn't 
you tell me you had a Mrs. Mike and eight white hopes?" 

"Sure I did." 

"Well, I want you to ask Mrs. Mike to wear this wrist- 
watch in memory of a fellow who called you every name 
he could think of, and tell her for me she's got a real 
man for a husband." 

Mike took the watch, looked at it in a dazed sort of 
way, got up, rubbed his large hand over his large 
mouth in a troubled way, and finally said: 

"I don't know what to say, sir." 

"Well, then don't say it," and Tad held 'out his hand. 

The Irish giant gripped it ferociously and went out 
with a peculiar glassy look about his eyes. And then 
Tad sat down alone like a' man who has just made his 
will after being told he has only just so long to live. 

It was night. 

Presently the telephone rang. 

"General Galboa is waiting for Mr. Castleman in the 
motor." 

Andjso Thaddeus Castleman and General Galboa dis- 
appeared from Washington. 



;-A. 






CHAPTER XVn 

IN a room on the fourth floor front of the Hotel Ala-^ 
meda in the border city of Hot Dog, which seemed 
determined to live up to its caloric reputation, a limp 
edition of Thaddeus Castleman in shirt - sleeves and 
without a collar was feebly fanning himself with a palm- 
leaf fan. 

Mr. Castleman was awaiting the return of General 
Galboa, and was devoting the feeble remnant of his mental 
energies to a review of his relations with that enterprising 
but elusive person. 

Six weeks had passed since they had disappeared from 
Washington. To Tad it seemed six years, and he was 
apparently no nearer any definite accomplishment than 
when he accepted Dr. Whalers commission. 

He did not even know as yet how the g^eral had 
managed to escape from San Juan prison. As we have 
seen, the shrewd little man had laughingly refused to dis- 
cuss it, and Tad had made no f luilier allusion to it, but 
he somehow felt that the key to that cell door in San 
Juan d'Ulloa was the key to Enrique and all his works. 
In the matter of smuggling and gun-running the general 
was past grand master, and under his guiding genius 
the twin trains had played Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde with 
marked success. It had been a liberal education to Tad 

1175] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

in the science of underground transportation, for Galboa 
knew just when and where to expect friction and just how 
much lubricating-oil was necessary to overcome it. To 
facilitate conversation on the subject Tad had christened 
the twins Romulus and Uncle Bemus; Romulus being the 
Red Cross good brother, and Uncle Remus the wicked 
double. 

When an inspection was inevitable Romulus passed it 
with 6clat. When the right of way was clear Uncle Remus 
had the call. Romulus and Uncle Remus had been suc- 
cessfully negotiated down to the border, and, so far as 
the "leetle expedeetion" was concerned, it looked to 
be all over but the noise made by the cashing of the check. 

Romulus was at that moment side-tracked just outside 
of Hot Dog, and Uncle Remus was hiding modestly in an 
obscure comer of the railroad yards, waiting for the word 
to go. All that remained for Uncle Remus was to cross 
the river and the deed was done. 

Prom the standpoint of General Galboa it was a per- 
sonal triumph. Prom the point of view of Thadeous 
Castleman the situation was distinctly disappointing. 

He had left Washington without a word except those 

three words in the little locket. It was not pleasant to 

consider just what Miss Tranquillity Buck thought of 

him under the circumstances, but what could he have 

said? What explanation could he have made? After all, 

it wasn*t fair to keep a claim upon her for a man whose 

future was so desperate. He was in the position of a 

man who had been rescued from a burning building and 

who is going back into the flames for something which 

probably isn't there. It seemed like throwing one's life 

away for nothing. 

1176] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

He had undertaken to match his wits against a man 
easily his superior in subtlety and cunning. He did not 
wonder that Enrique had Whale tied up in a bag. Whale 
was a man of imagination, an idealist, a theorist, quite 
ignorant of the backwaters of the Indo-Latin mind. 
Maybe it was all a mare's nest, anyway, and, granting 
the reality of the problem, what were the qualifications of 
Thaddeus Castleman for so perilous a task? 

Well, he remembered that he once took a cane from a 
powerful and resourceful man by just holding on. Per- 
haps if he could parallel Enrique long enough he might 
get a peek into his hand and see what cards he held. 
In the superheated air the bare possibiUty seemed to 
vaporize and vanish. 

The ice-pitcher on the center -table was sweating 
laboriously. The windows were open, but it was a 
question whether it was hotter without or within. It was 
a day when a man could sit still, do nothing, and suffer 
from exhaustion. It was too hot to give anything very 
much consideration, and Tad nodded and drowsed. 
There was a knock at the door, and to a languid '^Come 
in," a young man entered who by some unexplained 
miracle radiated energy.' 

"I beg your pardon," he said, briskly, speaking as he 
came, "is this Mr. Castleman?" 

Tad nodded without moving, except to feebly turn his 
eyes in the other's direction. "Well?" 

The new-comer put a card in Tad's hands and then 
stepped back to observe the effect, of which apparently 
he felt assured. Tad read: 

FOTO FREDDY 
Of The Federal Feature Film Co* 

[177] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

**What is it?" inquired Tad; ^'a test for paresis, or a 
patent remedy for stuttering?" 

''Arrests attention at once, eh? Well, that's the in- 
tuit. Now, Mr. Castleman, I'm a busy man, and so I 
am coming right to the point. I have been given to 
understand that you are a smuggler." 

''Really?" drawled Tad, almost too tired to smile. 
"Sit down, won't you?" 

"No, thank you. I haven't time. Never sit down. 
Waste of energy. Movement, action — ^that's my trade." 

"So you've heard I'm a smuggler, eh?" drawled Tad. 

"But, sir, I concede an expert, an artist in your line," 
exclaimed Freddy, with real enthusiasm. "Please don't 
take the trouble to deny it, for it is our chief industiy 
down here. We live by it, thrive by it, take an honest 
pride in it. Now there is a fortune in a big smuggling 
feature-film. Let's put one over. What do you say?" 

"Costs a lot of money, doesn't it, Freddy?" suggested 
Tad, amused. 

"Oh yes, anywhere from ten thousand to fifty or a 
hundred thousand, but listen and mark me well. What 
is the matter with smuggling a real smuggle? Wait! 
Don't speak! Listen! Do you cognize it in all its 
originality and beauty? We get the legitimate profits 
of the smuggle and the pictiu^ profits besides; in other 
words, halve our expenses and double our profits. Get 
it?" And Foto Freddy crowned his intellect then and 
there with reverence in the presence of the stranger. 
Rather ^dangerous, Freddy, isn't it?" yawned Tad. 
Not necessarily. Those who participate in the dan- 
gerous part may be masked, disguised with handkerchiefs 
or otherwise. The love-story may be taken in the studio 

[178] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

by actors quite innocent of any knowledge of what we or 
they are doing. We have a huge studio just outside the 
city limits, equipped with every device known to the 
pictorial art. Such an opportunity may never occur 
again. Quick — ^what do you say?" 

Without any knock at the door Gteneral Galboa walked 
into the room, stopped short, and gazed with frank sus- 
picion at the visitor. 

"Oh," said Tad, without moving, "this is Foto Freddy 
of the — Oh, it's too hot to remember the rest of it,** and 
he handed Galboa the card. 

The general glanced at it swiftly and bowed slightly. 

"Think my proposition over, Mr. Castleman.'* 

"Freddy," said Tad, wearily, "I'm not crazy about the 
realism part. Fact frequently plagiarizes fiction and 
usually makes a mess of it. Life is always doing some- 
thing crude and unconvincing, but I love your energy 
and your beautiful enthusiasm, and we'll do something 
together; not right away; busy with other things; but in 
a few weeks look me up, and if I'm still alive we'll do a 
smuggling feature-film and get disgustingly rich just for 
art's sake* Excuse my not getting up, won't you?" 

"We'll make a miUion dollars," vociferated Freddy. 

"Sell you mine for half of that right now/' called out 
Tad, and Freddy was gone. 

Galboa followed Freddy's exit with eyelids at half-mast. 
What you t'ink, eh?" he suggested, without turning. 
Secret Service scout?" laughed Tad. 

"St.** 
No more than you are!" drawled Tad, scornfully. 

If the shot found a mark Enrique gave no sign. 

"Freddy," Tad continued, "is just a beautiful, 






PEACE AND QUIET 

bubbling lourriain of buoyant bunk — ^that's pretty nearly 
as good as his. Now, if we needed a publicity agent — " 

"Santa Maria!" gasped Enrique. 

"Which we don't, but if we did—" 

Galboa walked to the open window and made a signal 
to some one on the street; then he turned and said: 
"Something ees go wrong. Goodey ees in one dreadful 
state. He wants to come up. I give him the sign." 

"Well, order a couple of gin rickeys to meet him or 
he'll die on our hands." 

The gin rickeys beat Mr. Groodey to the tape because 
Mr. Goodey thought it wiser to climb three flights of 
stairs laboriously and anonymously rather than enjoy 
the luxury and publicity of the elevator. 

Mr. Goodey was a round, fat head resting insecurely 

in a depression on a round, fat body. He reminded one 

of those toy mandarins who with the Ughtest agitation 

bob their heads solemnly for an indefinite time. Mr. 

Groodey fell into the room moaning for gin rickeys a mile 

long and for tons of ice. As he came his soft hat dribbled 

weakly to the floor. He tore open a long, thin strip of 

linen which had once suggested a collar, and he fell into 

an arm-chair which he fitted to repletion and redundancy. 

He started to pull off his alpaca coat, but it was clinging 

to his sobbing figure so tenaciously that he gave it up as 

too serious a task. As his fat, bulbous eyes came into 

line with the gin rickeys they passed from death unto life. 

Holding a lump of ice on his fat head with one hand, he 

managed with the other to negotiate the rickey marked 

here exhibit A, which said rickey seemed to reappear 

almost immediately upon his unpleasant surface in spurts 

imd splashes. 

(ISOJ 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Take your time, old man," urged Tad; "don*t suffo- 
cate leaving exhibit B to lag superfluous on our hands. 
You walked up, I opine.'* 

Goodey did not reply, just emitted a sickly moan. 

''I hear walking up-stairs recommended for the figure. 
WeU?" 

When Mr. Groodey recovered his voice he began to use 
it violently. "Why in hell—" 

"Hush, George," said Tad, "the swearing privileges 
are owned by our special artist on the spot, the genial 
and gentle Galboa. Mediocrity must ever be patient and 
modest in the presence of genius." 

"Please!" begged Galboa, through his tight lips. "Let 
'eem speak. Ees important. Gro on!" he said, sternly, 
to Groodey. 

"You two nice little boys need a guahdeen," fumed 
Goodey, in a liquid Southern drawl. "Why didn't you 
wahn me?" 

"Warn you?" 

"Just by accident got the tip that this heah fellah was 
comin' ovah or we all 'd be in jail right now." 

"What feUow?" 

"Why, this Fletchah feUah." 

"Lieutenant Fletcher? Why, we told you to expedite 
matters, as there was liable to be a Pharaoh at the fort 
who knew not Joseph." 

"Liahable to be?" sobbed Groodey. "Is now, and on 
the job, and this Fletchah fellah has ordahs to make a 
damn nuisance of himself unlimited. Fohtunately for you 
two little boys, few exigencies finds George Goodey un- 
prepahed. I says to mahse'f , says I, Goodey, this reck- 
less smrit of investigation must be chloriformed right at 

(181) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the staht, says I. You two little boys will pefhaps re- 
membah that some one with fohsight provided a phoney 
cyar; that is to say, cyar No. 88976, the centah one, was 
wisely loaded with real hospital stoahs. Well, I allowed 
this Fletchah fellah to catch me just about to make a 
thorough examination of 88976. See? 

^''Inspectah,' he says, 'have you made a thorough 
examination of this train?' 'Well, Captain/ I says to 
the young squirt, Mo you realize that this heah train is fo' 
hundred miles long by the clock, and do you stop to think 
how long it takes to unpack it 8u£Sciently to examine ev'y 
thing in it and repack the same again? We 'ain't got 
men enough, sah, this side of eternity to do it, sah.' 
*But you've examined it sufficiently to satisfy yo'se'f that 
it — ' *That it is as represented?' I says, *I have,' I 
says emphatic, *but,' I says, * I don*t want you to take 
my say so,.Majah; I want you to go thro' it all from 
end to end yo'se'f,' I says, *and I'm goin' to stay by you 
just as long as I kin,' says I. 'I've had sunstroke twice 
out heah,* says I, *but that don't make no diflference 
where mah dooty is concerned.* And then I advises him 
as a friend to take off his coat, him and his ohdahly, as 
the day is wahm. Well, boys, there may be hottah 
places than them freight-yahds outside of hell, there may 
be! and a box cyar in them yahds just natchally becomes 
a fiery furnace besides which the Shadeyrack, Esau» and 
Indigo affair was a cold-storage plant. I knew it was a 
test case, and so I took no chances. Among the cahboys 
and boxes in that cyar I had found a new base^bumah 
coal-oil stove. I gets sufficient oil to fill the same, and I 
has it goin* good in that cyar about one hour befo* the 
bold soldier boys arrive full of the enthusiasm of in* 

118«] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

vestigation. I yanked it out of the cyar and got it out 
of flight just as I see the mahtial fohms of the strangers 
advancing, hurdUng ovah sizzling ties and rails so hot 
you couldn't spit on 'em. I don't suppose that box cyax 
needed that extra touch from the base-biumah, but when 
those two mahtial heroes had been in that cyar pulling 
boxes and crates around for a half-hour they was as neah 
death as two brave men wants to be. 

'*'Inspectah/ says the lieutenant, feebly, 'I think 
that will do for the day. This seems to be all right. 
What do you call the coolest paht of the day here?' 

'**Well, Kunnel,' I says, ^ about daybreak, I should say, 
but this cool spell we've been havin',' I says, *may be 
gone any time and we'll get a spell of real hot weathah,' 
I says. 'I should advise you to go right through the 
train now while yo' blood is up,' I says, ^and the goin' is 
good.' He kind of lafs, and says: 

"*Well, I'll tackle it again at daybreak. We've had 
enough fob the present,' and he's gone. 

"Now, boys, you better get them goods out of them 
yahds just as soon as the Lord will let you." 

*' What's the matter with now?" asked Tad. 

*'Now, eef possible, by all means," echoed Enrique. 
"Have you make the arrangements?" 

"I got anothah blow for you two little boys," moaned 
Groodey. "The engineer and fiahman quits, renigs, re- 
signs, and you'll have to pay 'em as much as if they took 
the train ovah, just to keep the pigs from squealin'." 

Mr. Groodey, having relieved himself of his depressing 
news, having incorporated Jlxhibit B, and received some- 
thing in the nature of an honorarium or token of esteem, 

was ready once more to take up the burden of life. 

1X831 



PEACE AND QUIET 

It was agreed that the three men should leave the 
room separately, and by different and devious ways reach 
the roundhouse in the freight-yards as soon as possible. 
Goodey was the first to arrive at the meeting-place, 
Enrique next, and Tad last. Tad, after leaving the hotel, 
doubled back and found on inquiry that Enrique had sent 
a couple of telegrams, but he could not bribe the agent 
to give him a copy. Night was coming on and lights be- 
gan to break out everywhere. As soon as the three men 
had met, Goodey took the two little boys, As he called 
them, to a quiet part of the freight-yards, where he waved 
his arms like a conductor, and presently an engine drew 
up in front of them, and the engineer and fireman climbed 
down from the cab. They quickly divested themselves 
of their soiled and greasy jumpers, which Tad and Enrique 
purchased at what seemed a ridiculously large price, and 
the two little boys put them on. Campaigning in Mexico 
had taught both of them something about handling a 
locomotive — just enough to make them confident and 
dangerous. Tad forgot it was hot. His spirits rose as 
he faced the huge machine. 

"Friends," he said to the two professionals, **I can't 
jockey any with this old iron mule, can't make it do any 
circus tricks, but I'm going to give it a whirl. Have I 
got the right of way?" 

"Son," grinned the old engineer, "all you got to do is 
jest stick to the rails and you can't help goin' over the 
International R. R. bridge; after that it's up to you 
and the Lord." 

After a few friendly tips by the professionals as to just 
how to coax and humor the old brute, Tad put his hand 
on the lever and yelled: 

[184] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Come on, Henny, it's a cinch!** 

The train was heavy, and the old pro. had to enter the 
cab and assist at the start, and then he jumped off easily 
and left the two little boys in possession of, or possessed 
by, a Frankenstein, beneficent as a servant, but terrible 
as a master. It was a thrilling moment for Tad. They 
glided along easily enough at first, but from the moment 
of starting Tad had a premonition of disaster. Always 
thereafter he carried photographed on his brain a crazy 
futurist picture in splotches of light of signal-towers and 
telegraph poles doing a maxixe in banners of smoke and 
garlands of steam; huge beasts with nose to earth devour- 
ing long strings of track like spaghetti; dissolving views of 
people and houses floating by in streams, and big-eyed 
monsters playing fantastic games in a world of topsy- 
turvy confounded by a cacophony of diabolic noises. 
The time had been well chosen, for it was feeding-time 
for man and machine, but almost before they were out 
of the yards it happened. There was a crash, a hideous 
jerk and shock, tons upon tons of matter trembled and 
shivered with a loud protest as the old iron mule came to 
a horrified pause. Soon as he found himself Tad looked 
back and saw some people gathering around a mass of 
junk and kindling-wood of assorted sizes. He decided 
to go back and investigate. He found that a yard engine 
had smashed into the rear car, and the contents of the 
car with the remains of the car were in flagrant evidence. 
Uncle Hank's, or rather Mrs. Getts's, merchandise was 
distressingly conspicuous. Tad did not stop to inquire 
the cause of the accident nor who was to blame, nor to 
ask or answer questions. The crowd of the interested 
and curious was getting bigger every minute. He gave 

1186] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

one look at the scene and hastened back to the old mule. 
Fortunately the shock had been sufficient to detach the 
mutilated remains of the car, so Tad and his fireman 
pulled out and then and there left the evidence of their 
iniquity to the curious. Long afterward he learned that 
the accident was one of those unavoidable affairs the 
responsibility for which we place legally upon Grod or the 
public enemy. An engineer and a fireman were standing 
by their machine and, while awaiting orders, were teasing 
a husky half-witted negro boy who was employed to do 
odd jobs about the yards. Having escaped from his tor- 
mentors, the lad stole around the engine, climbed noise- 
lessly into the cab, and, before th^ knew what he was 
up to, started the engine, jumping from it as it moved. 
Hie yard engine ran wild until it hit the rear end of Uncle 
Remus and made history. 

News of such happenings travels fast, Sotne busybody 
must have telephoned to Fort Gordon, for before the 
smugglers were well beyond the confines of the town a 
troop of United States cavalry was riding hard to inter- 
cept the train before it could reach the International 
Railroad bridge. It was a very pretty race. Tad di- 
vined the meaning of the cloud of dust approaching, put 
the spurs to the old beast, and gave her a free rein. She 
strained forward, breathing hard in broken-winded gasps^ 
resenting the unusual and unholy exertion in every inch 
of her. Horrifically she loped over the rails in huge 
spasms like some prehistoric monster, threatening to leap 
into space at eveiy jump, while the trailing cars whipped 
and writhed in serpentine convulsions. The cavalrg^ 
was at some disadvantage, checked and thwarted by walls, 
fences, and necessary detours. A slight mistf too, hilng 



PEACE AND QUIET 

a veil over the river. The oflScer in command of the 
troops evidently felt himself beaten, for his men came to a 
sudden halt, and brought their rifles into action and began 
to shoot up the fleeing train with the utmost enthusiasm. 

"Duck, Henny, duck!** shouted Tad, as the glass from 
the cab window show^ied over him. Both men sought 
cover and left the iron mule to her own terrible devices 
until the roar of the bridge gave them notice that they 
had won the race, and then Tad could not resist the temp- 
tation to stand up and wave his greasy cap to the enemy. 
It was a bit previous, ajs the spitteiing and spattering all 
about him indicated. So he ducked again until the hoofs 
of the old brute told them they were on solid earth again. 

It was some time before the combined exertions of the 
two men could get the bit out of her teeth and slow her 
down to an angry trot and then a lumbering walk. 

Having safely escaped from the American side, they 
were in even greater danger from the Federals, who had 
recently captiu:ed Tabasco and were at that time par- 
ticulariy pernicious along the Rio Grande and the Mexican 
Central Railroad, so, instead of keeping to the main line, 
which was much too public for bo private an enterprise, 
Galboa had arranged to be switched to a branch line 
which ran up into the Orinoco silver-mines. In the 
mountains this branch was crossed by a fairly good wagon- 
road whidi led down into the adjoining country, where 
the rebels were gathered in force. The train had emerged 
from the foot-hills which parallel the river and had 
started the long, slow ascent of the cafton when some dis- 
tance ahead Tad saw a fire burning in the middle. of the 
track, and the dark forms of men on foot and horse 
stretched across the right of way. 

[1871 



C'.^ 



CHAPTER XVm 

HUERTA now ruled in the City of Mexico, and his 
followers called themselves Federals. The Ins 
usually called themselves Federals, as they were 
in possession of the federal machinery of government — 
namely, the treasury, and they called the Outs rebels, 
insurrectos, and other names not fit to print. 

The Outs, under the leadership of Villa and Carranza 
(who were afterward to fight each other with the same 
ferocity they had fought Huerta), called themselves Con- 
stitutionalists. It seems that Mexico really has a con- 
stitution, and one warranted to last a long time, as it is 
seldom, if ever, used. Now these hospital stores were con- 
signed to the insurrectos — ^that is, the Constitutionalists. 
Tad stopped his engine, blew his whistle three times, and 
waited. In answer came three shots in quick succession, 
a pause, and then a fourth. Enrique descended from the 
cab and walked up the track to the signal fire. His re- 
ception was most enthusiastic. Hats went up in the 
moonlight, vivas rent the air, joy-shots barked at the 
stars. Dark figures moved in and out of the fantastic 
lights and shadows. 

After the first enthusiasm had spent its force the crowd 
surged down the track, headed by Enrique. When they 
reached the train the little general leaped upon the cow- 
catcher of the engine and introduced Tad, calling for 

[188] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

cheers for his brave companiero. Tad bowed and grmned. 
Enrique as the hero of the occasion was having the time 
of his life. With a grand manner suggesting the accom- 
plishment of the impossible he delivered over the train 
to the officer in conmiand of the insurrectos. The sacred 
charge was accepted with equal solemnity by that illus- 
trious patriot) and the train, swarming with inf antiy and 
escorted by cavalry, moved slowly up to the signal fire 
where the rebels had been encamped, waiting for the ar- 
rival of the means to drive the hated tyrant out of Mexico. 
Here they gave themselves up to a slender but joyous 
feast. Tad and Enrique dined with the officers, and Tad, 
seeing their scanty fare, quit hungry. After the plain 
repast Tad suggested to his co-conspirator that, as they 
had delivered the train into the hands of the insurrectos, 
there was only one thing lacking to the completion of their 
glorious enterprise. Galboa looked grieved that anything 
so sordid should intrude on their patriotic transports, but. 
Tad appearing obdurate, Enrique withdrew for a con- 
ference with General Amedeo and his officers, and shortly 
reappeared without the officers. Thereupon General 
Amedeo solenmly passed a certified check to Enrique, who 
formally passed it on to Tad, who examined it carefully 
by the light of the fire, and, finding it altogether satis- 
factory, thanked his gracious hosts for their kind hos- 
pitality and expressed a desire to be gone. 

Thereupon General Amedeo spoke to one of his subor- 
dinates, and out of the shadows some one led a pony 
saddled and bridled, and the Mexican commander with 
florid grace asked Tad to accept the little mustang as a 
totally inadequate token of their appreciation of his ser- 
vices to the cause of liberty. 
13 11801 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The saddle was an example of the finest workmanship 
in leather, and the bridle was a work of art in horsehair 
and silver; but while the yoimg American was conscious 
of their beauty and value, it was the Httle cayuse that 
claimed his swift appraisal and complete approval. He 
was a judge of horseflesh, and he smiled delightedly as 
he gazed at the little yellow bundle of nerve and sinew 
electrically charged, and in some occult way he and Buck- 
skin seemed to arrive at an immediate understanding as 
Tad fondled his muzzle and made a few incoherent noises 
that were intended as evidences of good-wiU. 

Thereupon Tad thanked his hosts for their beautiful 
gift, and, thoroughly cured of any ambition to continue 
his career as a locomotive engineer, shed his jumpers, took 
account of his impedimenta, which consisted of cigarettes, 
a tooth-brush, an automatic gun, a canteen ot water, and 
a pair of field-glasses, and, mounting Buckskin, rode away 
into the shadows, followed by many compliments and 
felicitations. 

Now it had been agreed that after the delivery of the 
goods to the consignees Tad and Enrique, each going a 
diflPerent way, were to meet at Senator Cactus's hacienda, 
which took in both sides of the Rio Grande about fifty 
miles south of Tabasco. Tad had opposed this plan be- 
cause he would in this way lose touch with the general, 
and during their separation the one chance he was look- 
ing for might come and go, and never come again; but 
it seemed so obviously the wise thing to do under the 
circumstances that he had felt obliged to acquiesce. 

So he steered the little mustang up into the hills to the 

north and turned to take a last look at the picturesque 

scene — ^the camp-fires, the train like a huge black snake 

[190] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

at rest, the soldiers, and Enrique — ^Enrique, as usual, the 
center of the pietiu^, sitting erect on his bronco, deUver- 
ing an impassioned oration to his emotional countrymen. 
Up to that moment Tad's plans had been without form^ 
and void. Then and, there something came to him, some- 
thing without reason or explanation, nothing very definite, 
but enough to make him abruptly change his route. He 
had intended riding up into the north and we^t, and mak- 
ing a wide d^toiu* to the Senator's ranch. Instead, he rode 
down along the side wall of the cafion until he had 
dropped well below the train, and then he crossed to the 
opposite hills and rode back until he was in a position 
where, unseen, he could see all that took place in the 
radius of the big fire. Day was breaking as Galboa, 
after a third impassioned oration, rode in triumph away 
into the hills to the west. 

Instantly Tad resolved to follow. Perhaps if Buck- 
skin were as good as he seemed it wouldn't be necessary 
to lose touch with the slippery Galboa. As it had been 
arranged. Tad was to go east and Enrique west before 
making the wide detour to the south. As Galboa left his 
compatriots he crossed the railroad and plunged into the 
hills to the west. Tad was already waiting on the western 
side, and cautiously took up his trail. So far Enrique ran 
on schedule, but he had not gone west far before he halted 
and left his horse and came back to see if he were followed. 
Beassiu*ed, he deUberately turned south instead of north, 
crossed a range of hills, an intervening valley, and con- 
tinued in that direction until he found a wagon-road that 
ran northeast straight to a water-tank station on the 
Mexican Central Railroad. 

So far he had not kept to the route projected, but his 

1 191 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

direction was not absolutely inconsistent with a desire 
to eventually reach the Cactus ranch. As he drew away 
from his late comrades, however, Enrique moved with 
greater certainty and less effort at concealment, and when 
he reached the wagon-road he hit a killing pace. 

Fortunately for Tad, the little buckskin's coiu^e and 
stamina were equal to the test, and when lU'ged he always 
had some over and to spare. 

"Good little beast,** Tad murmured, encouragingly, as 
he leaned over and patted the quivering neck dripping 
with sweat. 

As Galboa debouched from the hills he became cautious 
again, or perhaps it was his spent mustang, for Galboa 
had ridden without mercy from sunrise to sunset, and the 
poor creature was dying on its feet. Before leaving the 
high ground to descend to the railroad the general pulled 
up to make a careful survey of the terrain, and the heav- 
ing, gasping beast dropped dead beneath him. After he 
had disengaged himself Enrique never gave a second look 
to the remains, but studied the landscape with obvious 
disappointment. He looked anxiously at his watch, then 
he drew his gun and fired a shot into the air. 

Not a soul was in sight. The graceless sheds, the 
hideous adobe huts, the stark tower were inert, comatose, 
lifeless. The sun was sinking, and the mountains be- 
hind threw a chill shadow over the forbidding place, a 
shadow that fell across the spirits of Thaddeus CasUeman 
and his friend Buckskin, who had halted in the shelter 
of a broken diff above. Tad was wet with sweat, but he 
shuddered. Suddenly he was conscious of a premonition, 
a sense of impending disaster and of helplessness. There 
was something sinister and cruel in the very ugliness of 

[1921 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the place, something that arose up from the earth form- 
less like a mist, something that breathed of treachery and 
betrayal, something that suggested to the imagination 
the sickening smell of blood, something that in rare mo- 
ments lays the heavy hand of horror on the actual and 
the commonplace. 

After Enrique had waited with obvious impatience for 
some time a solitary vaquero was seen creeping out of an 
arroyo over beyond the station. The man rode cautiously 
forward until he could exchange salutations with Enrique. 
Then he galloped quickly back, and out of an arroyo rode 
fiveTiundred of as fine horsemen as there are in the world, 
the Rurales, the crack cavalry corps of Mexico. Gaily 
caparisoned, superbly mounted, they made a brilliant, 
stirring show as they rode toward the dying sun. The 
two men who rode at the head of the cavalry dismounted. 
One was a tall, distinguished-looking man. Tad, with 
his field-glasses, was a witness of the meeting. The tall 
leader with the distinguished bearing looked strangely 
familiar. Where had he seen that face and form? Sud- 
denly he remembered, and the glass almost fell from his 
hands as he recognized Gen. Alfredo Aggrimonte. En- 
rique's reception was more than cordial; it was affection- 
ate. The two leaders embraced him with fervor, held 
a hurried but earnest conversation, laughed and felici- 
tated one another, and then all' three mounted their 
horses. The young cavalry leader shook hands with 
General Aggrimonte and Enrique, and, putting himself 
at the head of his splendid troops, galloped off back over 
the road Enrique and Tad had come. Galboa and 
Aggrimonte watched them with obvious triumph, and 
then they turned and rode slowly away to the norths 

[193] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Enrique on a fresh mount which had been brought for his 
use. 

Tad sank to the groimd, tremulous from excitement. 
At last he had seen into the hand of Enrique Galboa. At 
last he knew him for what he was. At last he knew the 
explanation for his escape from the walls of San Juan 
d'Ulloa. Farther back than that he could see now that 
from the beginning Enrique had been Aggrimonte's man, 
his spy, and a traitor even when he was nestling dose to 
the imsuspecting heart of Madero. 

Versatile little scoundrel! In the pay of the United 
States, of the Federals, and of the rebels! The rebels? 
As he thought of the insurrectos with whom he and En- 
rique had just broken bread Tad's blood turned cold. 
That train and its guardians were doomed. The ragged 
irregulars would be outnumbered by this crack corps of 
Rurales. They would be ambushed in some bowl in the 
hills, slaughtered, and their train captured; and the sick- 
ening thought came to Tad that the survivors would tell 
their children and their children's. children that they had 
been betrayed by the treachery of the hated Gringo. 
Was it too late? He staggered to his feet. His first in- 
stinct was to mount his horse and rush back through the 
hills to warn the insurrectos of their peril. Rush back? 
One glance at the poor little bronco was enough, and he 
himself was incapable of such an undertaking. He had 
not eaten since the scanty meal he had enjoyed with 
General Amedeo, and he had ridden a grilling race over the 
long way. Leading his exhausted Uttle beast, he walked 
weakly down to the station, found a lonely shack with an 
old Indian woman in charge, and after much persuasion 

and blandishment, accompanied by the sight and sound 

[ 194 ] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

of silver, induced her to give his weary bronco and him- 
self food and shelter for the night. And he fell asleep 
on a coarse straw mat, sick at heart at the colossal treach- 
ery of which he had been an unwilling and an imconscious 
part. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE American village, rectangular, crude, wiU have 
its finest expression in the new school-house on the 
hill. 
The Mexican village lifts up its soul in the old cathedral 
in the plaza. Outside the plaza will huddle in riotous 
dirt and confusion squat adobe huts and shacks in mean 
and narrow streets. You may see the same contrast in 
the man who takes oflf fifty dollars* worth of hat to enter 
the cathedral. Three dollars seventy-five may more than 
cover the rest of his wardrobe and his total available 
assets. His hat is his cathedral. Nevertheless, let us 
pray that Mexico may long be preserved from our gross 
idolatry of the great God Utility. May she achieve 
sewers and water-works without losing the great red 
water-jars crowned with leaves and garlands of flowers; 
may she hear over every hill and plain the scream of the 
locomotive; but may she always hear, too, the plaintive 
note of the gentle burro; may she approach unto efficiency 
without losing her grace and noble courtesy; may noth- 
ing ever rob her sons and daughters of the robozo, zerape, 
mantilla, the alameda, and the cathedral. 

Tabasco was en fHe. The towers of her beautiful tem- 
ple wore the moonlight like the halo of a saint. The 
municipal palace — every town hall in Mexico is a munici- 

[196] 



N 
V 



PEACE AND QUIET 

pal palace — ^was gay with bunting, flags, and streamers. 
Torches flared over the wares of the venders in the plaza. 
Lanterns glowed among the trees of the Alameda which 
nestled at the back of the town haJl. Everybody in 
Tabasco was either in the plaza or at the grand baiUe 
at the palace, or sitting on the stone benches in the Ala- 
meda, listening to the soft splash of its fountain and 
making love amid the vines and roses, the incense of the 
jasmine, and guarded by the sentinel palms which betray 
no secrets. 

The municipal palace, formerly a convent, faced the 
cathedral in the plaza, but it had a side entrance opening 
on to a stone staircase in semi-ruin, which sprawled into 
the narrow street below. Opposite this entrance, across 
the way, was the United States Consulate, a plain stucco 
house with a double gallery. That, too, had its flag fly- 
ing in sympathy with Tabasco's felicity. 

Two well-fed men with a genial after-a-good-dinner- 
and-with-a-good-conscience air appeared on the upper 
gallery of the Consulate, produced cigars, and prepared 
to "chew the cud of sweet and bitter fancy" after the 
manner of mankind. 

"Beautiful night,'* blandly suggested United States 
Consul Clayton. 

"No, thank you," replied Senator Cactus. 

Clayton looked at him ciuiously and with a cunning 
smile. "Something on your mind. Senator?" 

"No, no, not a thing, not a thing," stammered the 
statesman, with the look of a startled fawn. "Amalga- 
mated dropped a couple of points, that's all.'* 

And there was smoke and silence. 

It was rumored that Clayton owed his place to Senator 

[197] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Cactus's recommendation. The Senator had indorsed 
him as a *^good man for the place," and, from the Sen- 
ator's point of view, he was. 

"How long has Dr. Whale been in Hot Dog?" asked 
the Senator, abruptly. 

"Just arrived. Brought a Washington lady with him, 
who is visiting the new commandant's family at the fort." 

"What's her name?" 

"Grats, or Slats, or—" 

"Getts?" 

"That's it." 

"Good Lord!" 

"Anything to worry about in that?" 

"Well, no, no — on the contrary, perhaps it is a good 
tning to have some one at headquarters who is friendly 
to us, might perhaps be very useful. In regard to Whale 
— ^think he'll come to this shindy of Aggrimonte's?" 

"I advised it," complacently admitted the consul. 

"Don't you think it will be construed as a recognition 
of the Federals?" 

"If Whale were an official representative, yes; but he 
isn't. Aggrimonte has intimated to me that under cer- 
tain circumstances and guarantees his government would 
meet our President's wishes. It's highly important to 
find out what those guarantees and conditions are. It 
seems to me Whale has everything to gain and nothing 
to lose, and" — ^making a gesture that took in the munic- 
ipal palace, the town of Tabasco, and the moonlight — 
"this whole thing has been staged just for that — ^to give 
Whale and Aggrimonte a chance to meet and have an 
unofficial exchange of views. But you're not listening, 
S^oator." 

[108] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Oh yes, yes, beautiful night! And incidentally I was 
just wondering whether you had had any news of Galboa 
and Castleman?'* 

"bh, that's it, eh?" said the consul, with a side glance 
at his companion and a cynical httle smile. "Well, you 
know they spilled the beans, don't you?" 

"Beans? beans?" bleated the Senator, unwilling to 
admit his knowledge of even this now notorious scandal. 

"Yes, a switch engine ran into their rear car and spilled 
arms and ammunition all over the map." 

The Senator groaned aloud and raised his eyes in plain- 
tive protest to the marble heavens. Clayton continued 
with a detached manner in complete contrast to the 
other's perturbation: 

"It's an inexcusable bungle. I don't know who is to 
blame for it, but it is a serious business. The new com- 
mandant, this Colonel Buck, is just a bull-headed soldier 
without an ounce of common sense. I understand he is 
just raising merry hell. There is no telling where it 
will end." 

The Senator turned and with a fatherly air said, "So 
long as the boys keep under cover you're all right." 

"Me?" roared Clayton. "What's the matter with 
you? Say, you're too modest." The consul's emotions 
brought him to his feet and to the railing. "Hello!" he 
said, "here they are now." 

An automobile drew up in front of the Consulate and 
Lieutenant Fletcher left the wheel to assist Miss Buck 
and Mrs. Getts to alight. 

"Hello!" called Clayton. "Be right down." 

The Senator made the proper introductions, and the 
consul said: 

[199] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



it 



"So glad! We had about concluded you weren't 
coming/* 

"Miss meeting General Aggrimonte?" exclaimed Mrs. 
Getts. "The man who holds the records for all these 
dreadful executions?'* 

The consul put his hand on her arm hastily, for on 
the platform at the head of the steps at the side entrance 
of the municipal palace stood the general in full uniform, 
looking at his watch, a frown on his face. 

If you ladies will excuse me," said Lieutenant Fletcher, 

I'll drive on through the plaza and leave the machine at 
the Alameda where we came in. I can't turn aroimd in 
here," and he glided slowly away. 

"Oh, General," called Clayton, "one moment, please!" 

The tall Mexican soldier knew that he made a very 
fine and imposing figure as he stood under the crumbled 
carvings over the door, and came slowly and with great 
dignity down the picturesque stone steps. 

"Mrs. Getts, Miss Buck," said the consul, "allow me to 
present His Excellency, El Sefior Don General Alfredo 
Aggrimonte!" 

**A los pies de listed, senoras,** said the general, with a 
low bow, a^ he took and kissed the hand of each in turn. 
" Our Uttle baiUe is no longer a failure, for you have come. 
And mi amigo, el Sefior Doctor, cabaUero iUustro, where is 
he?" 

Mrs. Getts, obviously impressed, smiled sweetly and 
said: "Dr. Whale has been investigating some of your 
national dishes. General. It's nothing more serious> I 
think, than ptomaine poisoning." 

The general's face was usually inscrutable, but it was 
evident that his disappointment was very great. 

[200] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Mrs. Getts hastened to assure him that the diplomat 
had promised to come later if he recovered from his sudden 
indisposition. 

Aggrimonte bowed graciously and turned to Tran- 
quillity. "And the comandante» your father, sefiorita? 
He is coming, I am sure.*' 

"Father begged me to present his compliments. Gen- 
eral, and to say that he was so busy — " 

"Hunting smugglers, General," interpreted Mrs. Getts, 
easily. "You know how that is." 

"You refer to the hospital-train for the poor seeck 
rebel, eh?" said the general, with polite interest. 

"Yes," gurgled the Senator, with ingenue siuprise. 
"Have you heard. General? The hospital-train turned 
out to be a supply of arms and ammunition." 

"Indeed yes? Well, it is no matter, for we have al- 
ready taken the train from the poor seeck rebel." 

It was the consid's turn to be surprised. "Really?" 
he said; "then the train is now in the possession of your 
troops. General?" 

"/Sf, senor. Ciertol Is very nice arrangement — ^very 
nice indeed." Then dismissing the capture of the rebel 
supplies as an every-day occurrence, he turned again to 
Miss Buck. "Sefiorita, your father — 'ee will do us the 
honor to be present? 

Fiather intends, I think, to ride over later to pay his 
respects to you. General, and to see us on our way home. 



We will be over to the palace. General," said the 
consul, "soon as the ladies have had time to remove the 
dust. With your permission." 
The stately warrior bowed low. Fletcher, having an- 

1201] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

chored his machine near the Alameda, reappeared, was 
introduced to Tabasco's governor, and the Americans 
entered the Consulate, Mrs. Getts lingering behind for a 
word with the holder of the sanguinary records afore- 
said. 

" General Aggrimonte,** she murmured, musically, **may 
I take the liberty of saying something as a friend of hu- 
manity and your noble country?" 

"Sefiora, I am honored." 

"These wholesale executions of defenseless prisoners," 
she said, sweetly, "they are creating an unfavorable im- 
pression among our best people." 

"Indeed yes?" asked the general, softly. "You fill 
me with surprise. How you make the war in yoiu* country, 
sefiora? With the paper flower and the bonbon? Your 
noble General Sherman — 'ee make a fire to everything 
right] down to the sea, no? 'Ee say that war is, well, 
not very nice, eh? Biieno^ 'ee know. Sometimes we got 
to shoot some bad mens, but you are enthusiastic with the 
lynch, even in time of peace, and you bum the prisoner 
at the stake, without a trial, and everybody make the 
fiesta^ go round happy and keep the bones as souvenir 
of the grand occasion. No es verdadf** 

"Now I'm not going to argue with you," she replied, 
with a coquetry much more eflFective than mere argu- 
.ment; "but as soon as this unfortunate war is over I'm 
coming to Tabasco to organize a chapter of our Universal 
Peace Society." 

"Ah, sefiora," he exclaimed, with rapture, "Peace 
Universal, eh? Ah! if you will so honor me, make of 
me the first member, if you please!" 

And it was easy to see that when Peace Universal ar- 

> 1202] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

rived Gen. Alfredo Aggrimonte would be on the spot 
ready to be crowned its patron saint. 

"So sweet of you," she murmured, and they would have 
spent the rest of the evening bowing to each other had 
not Tranquillity come to the door and asked her chaperon: 

"Aren't you coming? Are you chaperoning me, or am 
I chaperoning you?'* 

Mrs. Getts entered the Consulate murmuring to Tran- 
quillity, "Charming, simply charming!'* 

"Yes," Tran suggested, cynically, detecting the glam- 
our of crime, "we ought to have brought the old murderer 
some white flowers." 

"Got a cigarette. General?'* asked Foto Freddy in his 
sharp staccato, as he came down the steps from the palace 
just as the ladies entered the Consulate. The general 
looked annoyed, but Freddy continued, with easy assur- 
ance, "Say, if you live up to the specifications we're goin' 
to make a barrel of money out of these pictures." 

Aggrimonte gave him a quick look of apprehension, 
then seeing that they were alone, he said, soothingly: 
"You eat the picture, sleep the picture, breathe the pic- 
ture! Buenol Is all right, fine! Now El Sefior Doctor 
is not come. The little bailie is give to him. All these 
distinguished guest is invite special to meet His Excel- 
lency — ^is great disappointment, but eef he is not come 
soon we take the picture just the same. Now you under- 
stand about this flashlight in the municipal palace?" 

"I ought to. You've rehearsed me enough. Why, I 
coidd do stuflE Uke that in my sleep." 

"Make history, perhaps — ^that picture," murmured the 
general, as he made his way to the steps of the palace. 
You know. General, you promised me an execution 

[203] 



n 



PEACE AND QUIET 

In the morning," called Freddy, with professional buoy- 
ancy. 

"Did I? Well, I always keep my promise." And the 
general indulged in a smile suggestive of a hungiy boa- 
constrictor approaching a hearty meal. "Will you return 
with me?" 

"No; got my things in the Consulate. Be with you 
shortly." 

**Dispens6 me, aefior** said the soldier, with grave 
courtesy out of all proportion to his real opinion of 
Freddy. 

Grave courtesy struck Freddy as funny. "Make it for 
two," he said, bowing with mock formality and an offen- 
sive grin that did not endear him to the stately general. 
People who cannot ignore insincerity ought not to be 
allowed at large in society. Freddy was undeniably crude. 

The general gave no sign, but bowed low and entered 
the palace. 

Freddy looked after him a moment, puzzled. Then he 
crossed the narrow street and was about to enter the 
Consulate when he heard a whistle. He stopped and 
looked toward the Alameda. Some one in the shadow of 
the palace was steaUng forward and evidently trying to 
attract his attention. 

"Hello, Freddy!" a voice called, softly — evidently 
some one who knew him. He went to meet the stranger. 

"Why, hello, Castleman! Where on earth did — " 

"Piano, pianissimo, Freddy! What are you doing 
here?" 

"Why, mi amigo, I'm the Grand Duke's official pho- 
tographer. Can't you see the glad rags and the fervid 
fiestar* 

[2041 






PEACE AND QUIET 

'*Why the doings?" 

"In honor of some feller who is supposed to be close 
up on the inside in Washington, a doctor — " 

"Whale?" 

"The same." 

As soon as Tad could recover his breath he said, quite 
casually: "Would you do me a great favor? Go in and 
take Whale aside and tell him I want to see him here 
imTnediately.** 

"Why, he hasn't come yet. May be over later." 
'Ah, that's better," sighed Tad, with manifest relief. 

Come hither, Freddy. There's a quiet spot here in 
Clayton's garden — you see I know my way about — ^where 
we may have quiet speech. Sit you. Now I liked you, 
my son, from our first meeting, and I am grieved beyond 
measure to see you in such bad company; in fact, you 
have fallen among thieves, old scout." 
You mean Aggrimonte?" 

I mean old Three-card-monte. Now how in the 
name of all that's sweet and pure did they get you mixed 
up with this burglar bunch? Wait! Methinks I can 
dope it out better than thou. Let me see. I gave that 
fearful and wonderful business card of yours into the 
keeping of simple-minded Uttle Enrique Galboa, did I 
not? And, as I remember, he gave it not unto me 
again, but rather thrust it into his own poke or pocket, 
so called. That accounts for you. Now this blow-out 
is given, as you say, to Dr. Whale. Now let me see! 
Where do you make your entrance trippingly? Ah yes, 
the conventional flashUght of the distinguished guests. 
Am I right?" 

"Yes, these Greasers are crazy to get into the pictures.'* 

14 [205] 






PEACE AND QUIET 



Dr. Whale, I suppose, was to be the center of the 
picture?' 

With old Aggrimonte.' 
Of course, and the United States consul?' 
Yes, and a Senator, a big gun, who is visiting him." 
Quite a representative gathering, and then the news- 
paper correspondents and visiting diplomats?' 



"With old Aggrimonte." 

«ir\f ] xi«^ tj^zm. ] c*M.^M. ia>» 

^'^uii,e a represeuiauve gaLuenug, aua ui 

leuis ana visiLiug cupiuinai;si'" 

"You got it." 

"Anything I missed?'* 

"Oh, Aggi is goin' to make a speech." 

"Of course." 



'And in the middle of the speech — ^well, there you are 
—that's the surprise. A prisoner is brought in—" 

"A prisoner?" 

"That's where I get the signal to take the picture." 

"I don't quite get that prisoner thing." 

Swiftly, with all his faculties alert. Tad reviewed the 
situation from end to end. A prisoner? Who was to be 
the prisoner? And why the prisoner — ^at a ball given in 
honor of an American diplomat? 

"And when the prisoner is brought in you get the signal 
to take the picture?" he repeated, absently. 

"Yes, and the general says that picture is going to 
make history," added Freddy, proudly, 

"Important as that, eh?" 

Was the ball in honor of Dr. Whale in reality a trap, 
a deadfall? If so, how, and in what way? 

"However," said Tad, aloud> "you are an American, 
aren't you, Freddy?" 

"Sure I am." 

"First, last, and all the tune?" 

"And up and down and across lots/* c 

1206] 1 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"You wouldn't run the risk of doing dirt unto your 
Unde Samuely would you, Freddy?" 

"Not for Dago dough, I wouldn't," 

"Grot your horse handy?" 

"Can put my hand on him any minute." 

"You know the first water-tank station below here on 
the Mexican Central? Well, I'll meet you there at day- 
break." 

"Gret out. I got a job here. Aggi's going to give me 
an execution in the morning." 

"An execution? Sony. Feel obliged to disappoint 
you and Aggi." 

"You?" 

"Yes. I think the general has me in view for your 
execution." While Tad was saying this it was merely a 
guess. The moment it was said it was a conviction. 

"No!" gasped Freddy. "Why, the son of a gun!" 
And Freddy's face worked spasmodically for a moment. 

"Now, you wanted to do a real reel with me, didn't 
you?" said Tad, harking back to his first interview with 
the enthusiast. 

"And please to remember that was my idea, not yours." 

**It was your very own, my son. In your life you have 
had at least one idea — shut up! Listen! Gro on into 
the Consulate, get Fort Gordon on the 'phone quiet- 
ly, and send a message to Dr. Whale that Castleman 
warns him on no account to come to Tabasco to-night. 
Then get your paraphernalia, get your horse, and meet 
me as I directed — ^water-tank station, Mexican Central." 

"But say, Castleman — " 

"Further explanations furnished at the station, not 

l>efore* We're going to pull ofif something big, you and 

l«07) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

I. A flashlight? Why, Freddy, that's an insult to a man 
of your gifts/' 

"It is, isn't it? A big thing, eh? A real reel?" 
And Freddy entered the Consulate with a preoccupied 
air just as the Senator emerged therefrom with a pre- 
occupied air. 



«< 




CHAPTER XX 

ELLO, Senator!'' exdaimed Tad, with a grin, 
enjoying the surprise and consternation he suc- 
ceeded in throwing into the unsuspecting states- 



man. 



Good — ^Lord!" gasped the collapsible one. 

They say even plants suffer, and as Tad advanced 
from the shadows and shook the political paw or poultice 
with cordiality and enthusiasm the great man suffered. 

"Yes, yes," he stuttered, "glad to see you, my boy, 
but what in Heaven's name are you doing here, eh?" 

"Oh, just looking around. Senator. Got to go some- 
where, you know. What are you doing here?" 

"Why — er — ah — ^just paying Clayton a little visit, and 
incidentally General Aggrimonte has made a special point 
of my being present to-night at his ball as his guest of 
honor. Of course, I had to decline that. OflScially I 
am not here. It is understood that I am present just 
as plain Charlemagne Cactus, and I see no harm in that. 
In fact, it seems to me wise to be friendly with all classes 
and conditions, if one can do so without the sacrifice of 
any essential principle, and one never knows in this re- 
markable country whose good-will one will find useful. 
Am I right?" 

"You are right about this being a remarkable country/* 

[«09] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

^'Damn it all, Castleman," roared the Senator, with 
growing anger, ""what in hell made you let that silly 
engine crash into your — " 

"You know there are donkey engines. Senator — irre- 
sponsibles among engines just as there are Senators who 
rush in where angels fear to tread!" 

"You refer to my be'ng here to-night? Oh, don't 
worry. I weighed the matter carefully, and when I once 
make a dedsion after due deliberation I allow nothing 
to influence me. Do you mind stepping into the shadow 
of the gallery? There, that's better. I suppose you 
have heard about the — ^the — ^the latest news about — ah 
— ^that unfortunate train?*' 

"No, but I can make a pretty shrewd guess. It was 
captured by the Federals." 

"Yes, regrettable, most regrettable; but, after all, these 
are the unavoidable risks attendant upon such matters. 
You, of course, carried out your part of it?" 

"Yes, we delivered the train over to the rebels all 
right." 

"And received the — ah — ^the — You see, Mrs. Getts is 
down here, and she will be getting nervous about her — 
and the quicker this thing is adjusted, you understand, 
the better." 

"Here is the check. Will you deliver it to her?" 

"Good Lord, 710/ What an idea! No, leave me out 
of it, please. Hang it all, Castleman, your attitude an- 
noys me," blurted the Senator, feeling the other's dis- 
approval. "I tell you I am not lending official counte- 
nance to this harmless little social gathering. I'm here 
only as a private citizen. What makes you think — " 

"Of course," Tad suggested, "there'll be the usual 

[210] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

flashlight of the distinguished guests, and if they get a 
good picture of you, Senator, it will make an attractive 
post-card for souvenir albums." 

*^Well, I see no great harm in that, though I am not 
seeking publicity; but you haven't told me anything 
about — How about — That is — ^when did you see our 
little friend last?" 

"GaJboa? You wouldn't believe me if I told you. By 
the way, does Enrique carry you around in his pocket, 
too?" 

"What do you mean?" 

"Have you ever corresponded? Are there any letters 
or documents which might perhaps be misunderstood if 
searched by a hostile eye? Anything you'd rather not 
have spread before the public and the Recording Angel?" 

The Senator made no reply, but drops of perspiration 
broke out all over his sallow face. He took off his Panama 
hat and wiped his brow, and his lips moved as if his 
throat was dry and he was in the act of swallowing some- 
thing several sizes too large. 

"I am always careful," he said, feebly, "but Enrique 
is the soul of honor, the soul of honor," he repeated, as 
if to reassure himself. "You are holding something back, 
my boy!" he appealed, feelingly. "If you know any- 
thing I ought to know, for God's sake, tell me." 

"Well, Henny and I both occupied the same cell in 
San Juan d'Ulloa. We were both due for a firing-squad. 
I got away because some one passed old Three-card- 
monty a bunch of money for me. Can't think of any 
one who would waste money on Henny, can you?" 

"Well, well, what of it?" 

"Ii3ten! After we turned the train over to the rebela 

[211 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

I got my check and came away. Well, I didn't go to 
your ranch as per agreement, but I just doubled back and 
camped on Henny's trail, and I personally saw him ride 
up to a bunch of Riu*ales by obvious appointment and 
give them instructions as to how and where to take the 
train from the people with whom we had just broken 
bread. It's rather plain that Henny is a patent adjust- 
able patriot with a dangerous faciUty for turning inside 
out or outside in. It's an interesting question as to whose 
money he thinks the most of, don't you think so?" 

"It's almost unbelievable, Castleman, but even if it 
is true, I don't see just how it concerns me." 

"Don't you? Well, Enrique is, perhaps, the custodian 
of secret and confidential correspondence. He carries 
you mayhap on both sides — " 

The Senator tried to shout a vociferous denial of this 
brutal statement, but somehow the voice disappeared in 
inarticulate noises most unconvincing to the hearer, who 
continued: 

"Don't worry. Henny carries a lot of people in his 
inside pocket. You'll have distinguished company. I 
am with you, and believe me, there are others." 

"All this is very disconcerting, Castleman, very, but 
it is in the nature of conjecture and surmise. What do 
you know?** 

"Well, I don't know what Aggi is up to, but it's safe 
to bet he has the cards stacked. He's the most dangerous 
man in Mexico. The ordinary Mexican believes that 
when they can take a day ofif from fighting one another 
they will just step across the border, take Uncle Sam by 
the chin whiskers, and mop the map with him. Aggi 
knows better, because he's a border man, got all his vast 

[212] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

holdings here, and he's a traveled, educated man; but 
if he could hold us up to contempt and ridicule? Why, 
he'd become the patron saint of Mexico and the idol of 
Latin America. No one beHeves in our disinterestedness 
or our sincerity. Suppose he got possession of corre- 
spondence — ^yours, for example" — ^the great man winced 
— ^** correspondence that was compromising or susceptible 
of a double interpretation, or whose very ambiguity was 
not flattering to our good faith, just suppose that. 
Think of the hit he'd make with his world-audience. 
Our influence in the council of nations isn't physical; 
it's moral. Suppose we were shamed in the parliament 
of nations, in the court of the world?" 

"My dear boy, you're talking nonsense." 

"Senator, when it comes to the diplomatic game these 
fellows over here can tie us up in knots and lose us." 

"I think you are suffering from hypersesthesia, my lad, 
but I always listen to advice from whatever source. 
What do you suggest?" 

"Well, if I were you, I'd get back to home and mother," 

"What do you mean?" 

"Don't go to this shindy to-night." 

"Impossible. I'll have to go." 

"Well, then, make some excuse and get away early." 

The Senator blew a colunm of smoke up into the cool 
night air and pondered, ponderously pondered. The 
Senator did even unimportant things in an important 
way. While the great man's mental machinery was 
weighing the imponderable elements of the situation 
Foto Freddy appeared on the lower gallery. He bulked 
large Uke a pack-mule equipped for an inciu*sion into the 
desert. 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"WeD, Freddy?" 

" Couldn't get Fort Gordon/' 

"Couldn't get the fort? Wires cut!" snapped Tad, 
and his jaws set with a grim understanding. ^'AIl ri^t, 
Freddy. See you as per schedule. You mustn't fail me. 
It means more than you dream, and I'm depending on 
you." 

The mystery, the sense of danger, the promised bigness 
aD appealed to the picture fanatic. 

"I'll be there," he said, quietty", but with unmistakable 
enthusiasm, and he drifted up the street in the direction 
of the Alameda and was gone. 

"Wires cut? Wires cut?" protested the Senator, irri- 
tably. "What are you talking about, Castleman?" And 
without waiting for a reply he dismissed Tad's imaginary 
fears with a grand wave of the fat hand, an indulgent 
smile, and a courage bom of superior ignorance. Just 
then the sound of women's voices in ripples of laughter 
floated out from the Consulate, and Mrs. Getts, in a radi- 
ant evening gown and leaning on the arm of the consul, 
stepped out upon the veranda. 

"Suffering saints! Senator," gasped Tad, with frank 
consternation, "you didn't bring the women over here?" 

Mrs. Getts had the delightful gift of making every male 
person feel that he had been especially selected from all 
other male persons as the one male person who com- 
pelled her reluctant admiration. She was beaming upon 
the consul, and the consul was beaming back. The trans- 
formation in the somewhat austere exterior of that official 
was extraordinary. He was positively genial. As they 
came from the Consulate Mrs. Getts was saying to 
Clayton: 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"What was that expression General Aggrimonte used 
when he was presented to us?" 

"^ hs pies de vMedy sefioras" 

"What does that mean?*' 

"At your feet, ladies." 

"What should we have said?" 

*'Bese usted Ids manos, senor** ("My hands for your 
kisses, sefior)." 

"Isn't that charming!" she gushed. 

Just then Tad advanced into the light and lifted his 
hat. The smile froze upon Mrs. Getts's face. Clayton 
was too busy trying to determine on the instant just what 
his own attitude should be to notice the perturbation of 
his companion. 

" Good evening, Mrs. Getts," said Tad, sweetly, enjoy- 
ing her dismay. 

"Hello, Clayton!" 

Mrs. Getts regained her composure first. She looked 
through the notorious and discredited smuggler with an 
X-ray glance into the municipal palace beyond. 

"As you were saying, Mr. Clayton," she murmured, 
"they are a mercurial people. I love them." 

As they passed Tad remarked to the Senator: "How 
well my dear cousin is looking. Oh, by the way, in re- 
gard to that check, Senator — " 

If there was anything wrong with Mrs. Getts's vision, 
there was nothing the matter with her hearing, and she 
turned at the steps and said to her escort: 

"Mr. Consul, will you excuse me for a few moments? 

I think a kind word spoken in season to this misguided 

young man may — ^who knows? Senator^ would you 

mind—?" 

[215] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"Leave me out of this, please." 

"I was only going to ask you if you would take the 
consul with you." 

The eagerness with which both politicians grasped the 
opportunity to retreat from the embarrassing situation 
was almost indecent. As soon as they were out of hearing 
she turned upon Tad with an indignation which was as 
violent as it was virtuous. 

"You stupid calf ! To spiU tho^ mcriminating things 
all over Texas! What do you mean by endangering the 
lives and reputation of — of — " 

"WeU, Bo—" 

"Don't tell me. I saw it. Everybody saw it." 

"You're right, Bo, it was criminal carelessness, posi- 
tively criminal." 

"And I want to tell you," she blurted out, angrily, "I 
have taken all the risk I'm going to. I want a settlement 
and then I shall wash my hands of the whole questionable 
thing." 

Tad took the check from his pocket-book and looked 
at it solenmly . " In the circumstances perhaps you would 
rather not accept this," he suggested. 

"I said a settlement, do you understand?" 

"As you please! There is your certified check." 

The moonlight would have been sufficient, but the 
Japanese lanterns strung across the street and the electric 
Ught over the entrance to the palace lent their kindly 
aid and enabled Mrs. Getts and the check to enter into 
reciprocal relations. 

Correct?" asked Tad, with a sweet smile. 
Correct," she admitted, with a sigh of relief. In spite 
of a gift for looking through and beyond and over incon- 

[216] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

venient things she had suffered many doubts and mis- 
givings, and it was a comfort to know that it was a closed 
incident. 

Herein we see an angle of the lex ialionis — ^the justifica- 
tion of getting back, of getting even. Was there not an 
element of poetic justice in having outwitted a niggardly 
stupid old Grovemment which had robbed Colonel Getts 
while he lived and left his widow with a pension which 
was an aggravated insult? There is one moraUty that is 
collective and one which is individual. How many of 
us will refuse to ride free if the conductor fails to ask 
us for our fare? Do not the railroads and the corpora- 
tions rob us? And shall we not, when our time comes, 
spoil the Egyptians? 

It may be doubted if the Getts conscience was deeply 
troubled, and yet it was a relief to regard the business 
affair as a fact accomplished. 

"Correct,** she repeated, with a nod to Tad, but as she 
looked up she suddenly became aware of a disturbing 
element. Miss TranquiUity Buck was standing on the 
Consulate steps, gazing directly at her with what seemed 
a penetrating and disconcerting glance. Lieutenant 
Fletcher was beside her. As the eyes of the two women 
met Tran came slowly down, and to the other woman 
with what seemed to the latter an accusing stare. Mrs. 
Getts involuntarily gave a frightened glance at the tell- 
tale piece of paper,itnd asked herself how long those people 
had been standing there. And then in a panic she did the 
worst thing she could do — she began to try to explain. 

Old Dr. Jowett, of Oxford, said: "Never apologize, 

never explain. Get it over with and let them howl," 

which was good advice, 

[2171 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Yes, yes, thank you very much, Mr. Castleman," 
Mrs.Getts babbled. "So good of you to bring it." And 
then to those who had asked for no mformation she vol- 
unteered: "Telegram. Business. Important business." 

There was a curious look upon Tran's innocent baby face 
as she inquired: "Telegram? On that kind of paper?" 

"Oh, they write them on any kind of paper, don't 
they, particularly over here?" Which was horribly be- 
side the point. 

"Looked to me like a check?" said Tran, with brutal 
simphcity. 

Mrs. Gretts laughed uneasily and raised her eyebrows 
at the absurdity of the suggestion. 

I didn't know you were in business," Tran suggested. 
Oh yes," volunteered the other; "but recently, quite 
recently — one of those things one can't avoid — ^a legacy, 
you know — ^just a legacy." The moment she had men- 
tioned the word legacy it struck her as a mistake, leading 
to all kinds of embarrassing questions. 

"What kind of business?" asked Tran, innocently and 
with cool impertinence. 

Tad saw it was time to intervene. "Hardware," he 
said, sweetly, lifting his hat to Tran, "wholesale hard- 
ware! Good evening, Miss Buck,'* 

It was Miss Buck's turn to feel embarrassed, but her 
head went up with a defiant toss. Fletcher, who had 
been coldly eying Tad for some time, stepped in between 
the two and said, insolently: 

"We'd like to see you over on our side, Castleman. 
We're reserving rooms for you." 

"I'll send you an alarm-clock, before I come, Fletcher, 
so that you'll be awake when I arrive." 

I 218 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The young officer flushed angrily, and his hands closed 
in a movement toward the speaker that invited trouble. 
Tran put her hand on his arm. Tad smiled coldly. 

"Don't start anything here, Fletcher, or you'll find 
it warmer work than your labors in the freight-yards at 
Hot Dog." 

"Mr. Fletcher,'* said Tran, quietly, "I have something 
to say to this — ^to Mr. Castleman. Please take Mrs. 
Getts with you in to the dance. I'll join you in a mo- 
ment." 

Fletcher would have protested at the suggestion of 
leaving her alone with a fugitive from the law, but one 
glance at the militant daughter of Colonel Buck was 
enough to convince him that obedience was the better 
part of vaJor and discretion, with the other part or parts 
not worth mentioning. Mrs. Getts, too, left him in no 
doubt as to her eagerness to escape from the cruelties 
of the witness-stand as she linked her arm in his and 
murmured, as they went: 

"Some people are so inquisitive. Isn't it unfortu- 
nate?" 

"What's this about hardware?'* inquired the sedate 
Fletcher. 

Mrs. Getts quickly regained her poise in contact with 
the mental equipment of the mere male. She laughed 
easily and indulgently as she said: "Curiosity was the 
original sin, wasn't it? Got our first parents into trouble, 
proved fatal to the cat, and is very bad form in interesting 
young army officers." 

Tad watched them disappear up the steps, and then he 

turned to the one woman in the world. This story 

would have been more interesting if there had been some 

l«i»l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

other woman. There was no other woman. Perhaps it 
was the result of a conmionplace imagination. Other 
women had crossed his path, but no other woman had 
ever entered into his life, into his holy of holies. From 
the time they were children no other woman had suggested 
the possibilities of a continuing presence without arous- 
ing apprehension or fatigue. He would have shuddered 
at three meals a day for three hundred and sixty-five days 
in a year with any other woman. She was the only woman 
one could talk to as to one's self, one's better self, and 
who o£Fered one the bliss of resting in her silence, the 
only woman in whom the usual and actual seemed won- 
derful and beautiful, the only woman who by her smile 
or frown exalted the universe or plunged it into chaos, 
the only woman who had ever suggested home and chil- 
dren, the only woman, the only human being, he had 
ever been afraid of. 

As Tad turned to her he saw the one woman in the 
world standing in the moonlight, straight, rigid, her eyes 
blazing. Silent and cold he stood before her. Each 
waited for the other to speak, and the caressing strains 
of "La Paloma" floated out upon the sweet night air. 
And he noticed that she was not wearing a gold and 
platinum locket. 




CHAPTER XXI 

ELL?" she challenged, at last. 

For once in his life he stood dumb and help- 
less. 

"You ran away — ^without a word — sneaked away!" 
She seemed to wait not for a denial, but for some im- 
possible explanation that would somehow explain the 
unexplainable. 

"How could you do it?" she cried out, desperately, 
without realizing that she was making more of a con- 
fession of her love than she had ever revealed to him or 
to herself. 

He looked at her. She had suffered, suffered for him. 
Joy and bitterness, triumph and despair, struggled within 
him. 

I didn't think you'd care — much," he said, humbly. 
Oh," she exclaimed, scornfully, "you mean you 
didn't have the courage to come to me and tell me you 
were going to break your promise?" 
"My promise?" 

"To give up this dangerous, disreputable outlaw life. 

I thought you had come home to lead the life of a good 

citizen and a gentleman. That's what you led me to 

believe." 

"Yes, Tran, that's what I went home for, and I guess 

15 ' l«21] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

I asked everybody in Washington for a job, and I was a 
great Kttle man so long as they thought I had money to 
spend; but I was worse than the smallpox when I had 
money to get. I don't want to whine. It's all right. 
The fact is, I wasn't good for anything, didn't know how 
to do anything worth the doing. Got started wrong, I 
guess! I was a joke in coUqge. I certainly was a joke 
in dad's business. You told me I was a joke to ask any 
woman to marry me — ** 

"It isn't fair to remind me of that," she said. "It 
wasn't your fault that you got started wrong, but it is 
your fault if you stay wrong. Have you the little photo- 
graph I gave you?" 

"Yes, Tran, of course, here, always," and he pressed 
his hand hard to his breast. 

"I want it back." 

"Tran! You don't mean that?" 

"I do. I want it." 

"Why do you want to take it away from me?" 

"Because it's no longer true — ^what I wrote on it." 

He was dazed at the suddenness of this, at its com- 
5((eteness. 

He jswayed as if he had received a blow, and then after 
a pause he slowly repeated the words which had meant 
so much to him, had been so close to his body and to his 
heart and soul: 

"Remember, always remember / believe in you." 

"You don't know what you are asking of me," he said, 
slowly. "I'm not going to pretend that I. am worse than 
I am even to measure down to your opinion of me. As a 
matter of fact, I think I've done about as well as the aver- 
age man would in my place, but I don't claim any credit 

[222] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

for that, for it's all been due to the words on the back 
of that photograph. I've never made any money at this 
game, Tran, and I might have. I've never accepted a 
position that I didn't earn. Where every fellow saved 
himself I stood for the losing end. I Uved through the 
horrors and despair of San Juan d'Ulloa. I was reaUy a 
coward, but I walked out and faced a firing-squad just 
as if I wasn't. I was pretty close to despair in your 
whole-souled city of Washington, but I managed to stay 
in the game, not because the game was worth while, but 
because those words rested on my heart like a benediction 
— *Ilemember I believe in you.' And now you are going 
to take them away from me. Well, I won't let you do 
it. I won't give them back. They are mine. If they 
no longer mean anything to you, they mean everything 
to me, and when I'm tempted to something which would 
be mean and small even for me I can grab them and 
hold myself up by them. I won't make a grand-stand 
finish, but I'll come down under the wire somehow, and 
you'll know I rode in the race." 

"So you won't give me back what is no longer yours?" 
"I won't give you back what is forever mine." 
I won't pretend to say whether Tranquillity was glori- 
fied or outraged by this. I don't believe she knew as she 
walked with haughty pride to the ruined steps of the 
palace. 

"Don't go in there, Tran — ^please!" he cried to her, as 
he followed her. 

She turned in astonishment and resentment for the 
shock of the commonplace at such a time. "Why not?" 
she said, coldly. 

"No American has any business in this town to-night." 

(228] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Her answer was a little (^ynical smile. 

**And women least of all.'* 

"What about you?** she said, without more than casual 
interest. 

"Well, I haven't any business here, either.'* 

"Oh!" 

"But, I can't go and leave you here! I won't go until 
you do, and I ought to go." 

"You mean it isn't safe for you?" 

"Yes." 

**yn]l you go if I promise to?*' 

"Yes." 

"All right. I'll tell the others. We'll make some ex- 
cuse and go at once." 

He seized her unwilling hand and held her in a mo- 
ment's trance. "Tran, Tran dear, don't throw me in 
the discard; don't leave me with nothing to fight for, old 
girl. Give me an even chance. It isn't so bad as you 
think. Give me the benefit of the doubt. There are 
things you don't know, can't know; and remember this, 
whatever you do to me or think of me, I love you, will love ' 
you always to the end." 

He kissed her hand; she drew it away and was gone. 
For some moments he looked after her, as a devotee might 
gaze after some heavenly vision, and then he sank down 
on the crumbled steps and bowed his head. When he had 
mastered his emotions he rose, sighed wearily, took up a 
hole in his belt, and drifted like one in a dream up tow- 
ard the Alameda, whither Foto Freddy had taken his 
way. 

He had gone but a short distance when a figure emerged 
from the shadows, and Tad became suddenly conscious 

[«241 



PEACE AND QUIET 

of the play of the moonlight over the cold steel surface 
of a bayonet. It gave him a most disagreeable impression, 
but he raised his eyes to the Mexican soldier with an ex- 
pression of mild increduhty and patient reproof. It was 
a mistake, surely, which the over-zealous infantryman 
would be quick to correct. With a benignant but authori- 
tative wave of the hand he ordered the man to stand back 
and let him pass. 

**No?" he said, with a good-humored smile. "You 
must excuse me. I didn't know you were there. Sorry 
to have disturbed you! You make me feel almost Uke 
an intruder. Biienas noches, senorr* And Tad raised 
his hat and made the man a profound bow. It was ob- 
vious that the man, though a private soldier, must be a 
hidalgo in disguise. These things are important in 
Mexico. 

"I shall have to go and get my permit for moonlight 
walks in Tabasco," he murmured, as he turned non- 
chalantly and walked back in the direction of the plaza. 
Again from nowhere a bayonet appeared glittering 
ominously in the light. Tad stopped, smiled indulgently. 

"There is some little misunderstanding here," he said 
to the second man behind the second bayonet. "I know 
just how you feel, but I think you're over-zealous. I have 
no desire to get you into trouble, and I shall accept your 
apologies." 

His mind was busy while he was indulging in this 
gabble, playing for time. He turned and saw the first 
bayonet was still blocking the way to the Alameda. He 
beckoned to the first bayonet to approach. As soon as 
the two soldiers were together he bowed to them with 
the utmost deference: 

[225] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

" Buenos noches, amigos miosr he said, with the assump- 
tion that the mistake was theirs and that his patience 
would perhaps in time become exhausted. As he dis- 
missed them and started to go the steel came so close to 
his abdomen as to convey a wireless chill up and down 
his spine. 

"Oh, you don't speak Spanish?" he ejaculated, with 
polite siuprise. " What a pity ! Thank Heaven there is one 
language that is universal and a passport everywhere." 

And he took from his pocket two twenty-dollar gold 
pieces. He looked from the two gold pieces to the two 
men. The glitter of the metal was reflected in their dark, 
covetous eyes. 

"Well, now, as between business men and brothers, 
that's understood," he remarked, as he daintily deposited 
a coin in each sweating palm. 

"Now you will stroll off that way while I stroll off this," 
and he turned to go again toward the Alameda. As he 
turned he was confronted by a squad of soldiers marching 
briskly and completely filling the narrow street. He 
turned and looked back at his two business friends in the 
rear and bawled: 

"Say, you give me back those two passports, you two 
pirates! This is crowding the mourners, boys, playing 
both ends against the middle." 

"Seflor, you will oblige me by considering yourself 
under arrest." 

Tad looked up and saw the tall, stately figure of General 
Aggrimonte standing on the steps of the mimicipal palace. 
Tad's first instinct was to throw just one shot into Aggri- 
monte where he stood and take the consequences. He 

didn't do it because he was terrified by the thought that 

[226] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

there were American women in that hall, that she was 
there, the only woman in the world, that nothing must 
happen until these women were in a place of safety. 
Fortunately Tran was warned, and he had her promise 
to go at the eariiest possible moment. When and how 
could she get away? For himself he had stayed just five 
minutes too late. The trap was sprung. His suspicions 
of the sinister nature of the occasion were confirmed, a 
bit too late to be of service to himself. 

"Arrest, General?" And he looked up with an im- 
pudent smile. *'Con guMo, senorj** he added. "The 
pleasure's mine, the drinks are on me. Would it be vulgar 
curiosity to inquire the reason for my arrest?" 

Before the general could make reply the two guards 
from behind threw themselves upon Tad with unnecessary 
violence, in so much as he made no resistance, and pinioned 
him while the officer in charge relieved him of his gun. 
His hands were then tied behind his back swiftly and 
securely, which likewise seemed superfluous, as he was 
now imarmed and in the absolute power of armed 
men. 

"Aren't you making rather too much fuss over me?" 
he inquired. "Why the unusual compliment, and why 
the unnecessary trimmings?" 

General Aggrimonte surveyed the proceedings with a 
somewhat bored expression until he began to address the 
prisoner. Then his small, somnolent eyes glittered with 
ferocity. 

"Sefior," he purred, "to-night you will be my guest 
at the grand baiUey which will perhaps be historic. You 
will have the exquisite pleasure to assist in the exposure 
to the world of the duplicity, the nauseating hypocrisy 



PEACE AND QUIET 

of your contemptible people. Thus you will become, 
perhaps, un bienhechor, a benefactor! You will enjoy 
that, eh?'* 

"Sounds inviting," admitted Tad. 

"And to-morrow — ^well, we shall see.** 

"To-morrow I*m to be shot up for a feature-film for 
Foto Freddy! How nice!'* 

There was a confused murmur in the rear of the squad 
of soldiers, and at a word of command they opened up 
and made way through their midst for a couple of guards 
in charge of a second prisoner. The prisoner was slight 
and small, and he held his hands in front of him in sudi 
a way as to suggest handcuffs. As he came well into 
the light Tad recognized at once the well-known figure 
of Enrique Galboa. If it had been the intention to 
strike terror and dismay into Castleman it failed of its 
object. 

It was a complete siuprise to Tad, but he wondered 
why it had been a surprise,, why he hadn't foreseen just 
this. Down at the water-tank on the Mexican Central 
he got a peek into Enrique's hand. Now he saw every 
card in it, and knew every play in his game. The knowl- 
edge failed to afford him any comfort, for he realized that 
the little Mexican had won, and not only that, but would 
succeed in making Tad Castleman an exhibit in his 
triumph. However, he did not mean to give them the 
satisfaction of seeing his discomfiture. 

"Hello, Henny ! " he called out, gaily. "We were just 
waiting for you. You're the missing link. WeU, how 
are you? You beat me to it, didn't you? You'll escape 
to-morrow again, as usual, but I'll go up against the wall 
and into the ditch. Got Whale's letters and documents 

[228] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

on you handy? And Senator Cactus's? All ready for the 
flashlight when Aggi gives the signal?" 

Enrique treated himself to the luxury of a broad grin, 
showing his beautiful white teeth. 

"And the rebels paid for the arms and ammunition 
that you handed over to the general there. Say, 
you're all kinds of a scoundrel, aren't you?" 

Enrique laughed noiselessly. 

"I make you all to look foolish, eh?" he said, with par* 
donable pride. 

"You do," acknowledged Tad, frankly; "you have put 
the banderillas in us over the barb." 

General Aggrimonte said something to the officer, and 
the latter spoke to his men. They untied Castleman, and 
before the latter realized what was being done to him he 
foimd himself handcuffed to Enrique. 

"We're due for the grand-stand entrance together, eh, 
Henny?" said Tad. 

An order was given, and the soldiers fell into line fore 
and aft, with the prisoners boxed in the middle. 

"Say, they're not going to take us into the palace by 
the side entrance, are they, Henny? That isn't good 
enough for us, is it? Ah, I thought so," he added, as they 
moved oflF toward the plaza. 

The squad had only started when the order came for 
them to halt. The way was blocked by two horsemen 
who swung into the street from the plaza. They rode hke 
soldiers, but they were clearly not Mexicans. Their 
objective seemed to be the United States Consulate, 
but, seeing the group opposite Clayton's house, the older 
of the two men rode up and with a military salute, 
said: 

(229] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"I beg your pardon. Have I the honor of addressing 
General Aggrimonte?" 

"iSi, SenoTy* said the latter, returning the salute, "and 
you are?" 

"Buck— €olonel Buck, Forty-third United States 
Cavalry.'* 




CHAPTER XXII 

OU honor us, CabaJlero lUustro," exclaimed the 
Mexican commander. Now if our Bill Jones ad- 
dressed any of us as Caballero Dlustro we would 
consider the language elaborate and ornate, but it would 
be because Bill didn't know how. Alfredo Aggrimonte 
knew how, and his manner had the sincerity of the finest 
art. 

"I know your record, Coronel," he added. "It is a 
privilege to meet so distinguished a soldier." 

The colonel bowed awkwardly and dismounted to meet 
his host, throwing his horse's reins to his subordinate. 
The colonel shared our national indiflference to manners 
and suavity. Perhaps if we saw more of them we would 
eventually grow accustomed to them and learn that 
politeness is in itself at least harmless. The colonel 
inclined to the popular theory that if you are disagree- 
able with candor you thereby become an apostle of 
truth. He barked, as a rule, and to be sure to be above 
fthe suspicion of flattery he barked with over-emphasis. 
So each soldier had his pose, ouly the colonel's assumption 
was not as clever as the general's. As the two men 
shook hands they were physically and mentally in strik- 
ing contrast. Some of his professional brothers declared 
that the colonel was as dangerous as a rhino whose 

[281] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

architectural lines he somewhat suggested, and as in- 
different of consequences. Aggrimonte, on the other 
hand, always began mentally with the consequences and 
worked backward. 

The colonel could find nothing better to say in reply 
to the other's gracious words than, ""My daughter and 
Mrs. Getts are here?" 

"They are within, Coronel. Will you join them, 
please?'* 

"Thanks, no! Parties are not in my line. General. 
Not dressed, as you can see." 

"The soldier is best dressed, Coronel, who is in the 
clothes of service, no es verdadf** 

And then the general noticed that Colonel Buck and 
his companion were not in uniform, but in khaki and 
without side arms or insignia of any kind. They had 
taken pains to cross the border as private citizens. 

"Come, Coronel," he urged; "it will gratify our people, 
and 'elp to cultivate the good-will on both sides of the 
border. Come, let them see us as friends." 

There seemed to be no rational objection to so simple 
an act of courtesy, and the colonel was being personally 
conducted up the cnunbled stairway of the municipal 
palace when a voice rang out on the dear air: 

"Don't go. Colonel!" 

The Colonel turned involuntarily and saw a confused 
movement in a group of soldiers who were in the street, 
whence the voice had come. He got the impression 
that the voice was trying to speak further through a 
smother of resistence. 

"What was that?" he asked, quietly, turning to 
General Aggrimonte. 

[232] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

**0h, is crazzy prisoner! Is nothing," said the latter, 
amiably. " Come !'* 

"Wait a minute, please. Your prisoner is an Ameri- 
can," said the colonel. 

"No, sefior, is bandit, is make escape long time ago 
under sentence of death by coiurt martial at Vera Cruz. 
Oh, is quite regular, quite." 

"If you don't mind I'd like to hear what this man has 
to say," the American officer replied, coldly. 

Before the general could answer there was a violent 
struggle in the street and a disheveled man broke through 
the guards and stood panting in the moonlight. Tad 
had footballed his way through and dragged Enrique 
with him. 

"Don't go. Colonel," he gasped, with what voice he 
had left; "it's a plant!" 

Aggrimonte put his hand on the arm of the American 
officer and would have drawn him gently away, but the 
colonel would have none of it. 

"Don't let him be abused," he said, sternly, coming 
down to the street. "Ask your men to bring him here, 
will you? Why, General, this man is — " 

"A desperado, Coronel, who has fought on every side 
and been true to none." 

"That isn't true! It isn't true!" 

Everybody in the street turned at the sound of a wom- 
an's voice ringing out against the sky like a bugle-call, 
and saw Tranquillity Buck and Consul Clayton standing 
on the steps before the door of the palace. 

She paused, and no one moved, no one spoke. The 
silence quivered with emotion. 

"Father," she cried, running swiftly to him, "that man 

[2ds] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

is an American citizen! Yaa're not going to let these 
wretches assassinate himf* 

The colonel stc^>ped her with u|^ifted hand. ^Tran, 
you fcH^et yourself! Leave this to me! Mr. Clayt<Ni, 
will you take my daui^ter into the Consulate?" 

Tran would have gone strai^t to the priscMier, but, 
flanked by her f ath^ on one side and Claytcm cm the 
other, she was succesrfully manoeuvered over to the Con> 
sulate. Here the consul whispered to her: 

^'Gret your things and bring Mrs. Getts's wn^ at 
oncCy at oncer* 

The colonel did not wait to see his dau^ter enter the 
Consulate, but turned and qx>ke to the Mexican ccmu* 
mand^. ** General Aggrimonte, please pardon my daugh- 
ter's indiscretion.'* 

The general bowed graciously, but he was white with 
anger. 

"We are your guests," the cdonel continued, "and 
this man you have in custody, whatever else he may be, 
is our countryman. Youll be ^ad, I'm quite sure, to 
afford the consul and myself the opportunity of ^)eaking 
with the prisoner." 

"At some other time, Coronel, I shaU be ^ad; at some 
other time." 

"Why not now?" urged the colond, bluntly. 

"Yes," echoed Clayton, "why not now?" 

The general shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. 

And why not later?" he smiled, suavely. 
Later may be too late," suggested Clayton. 
Yes," urged the colonel; "I know these men. We've 
been hunting for them on our side. Thqr are smugglers. 
General," 

[284] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Smugglers?" exclaimed the general, with ironical sur- 
prise. "Yes, smugglers that you allow to escape, and 
that you continue to allow to escape, yes?" 

Aggrimonte was the first to sense the imminence of 
trouble, and readjust his attitude. The urbane and 
gracious host disappeared and in his place stood the alert 
antagonist^ quick, resourceful, dangerous. To strike 
first, to put the enemy on the defensive, these are axioms 
of war and diplomacy. 

Buck was conscious of being at a disadvantage. Be- 
sides, he never anticipated trouble; he was rather better 
at meeting it when it could no longer be avoided. 

Aggrimonte continued, "And you encourage these 
bandits to sell arms to our enemies, and continue to en- 
courage them in spite of our repeated protest." 

"We have thirteen hundred miles of border to patrol," 
said Buck, slowly and without heat, "and only six 
thousand men to do it. We are honestly doing the best 
we can. General." 

"But they smuggle, eh?" replied the general, with a 
sneer. "They continue to smuggle; and you continue 
to make money out of our blood. Your great Presidente, 
'ee make the grand proclamation of neutrality, but the 
smuggle is go on all the time, day and night, just the 
same. Is grand joke, dat neutrality, eh?" 

The general took from his pocket several cartridges, 
and, holding one up so high that all might see, exclaimed, 
dramatically: 

" Be'old ! Please to take one, Coronel. You will recog- 
nize him. Is old friend, yes? T'ree thousand of 'im is 
sold by your soldier to my soldier — soldier! You don't 
know dat, eh? Well, I tell it to you." 

[235] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

This was unfortunately true, and Colonel Buck flushed 
to the roots of his closely cropped white hair. 

"I'm new at Fort Gordon, General, but from now on 
you won't complain of the way the law is enforced on oiu* 
side of the river. I should be very glad if you will lay 
these complaints before our consul here — " 

"Your consul?" interrupted Aggrimonte. "Your con- 
sul, I say eet to 'is face is smuggler, too!" 

"What do you mean?" said Clayton, white, but not 
from fear; for, whatever other faults he had, he was 
no coward. 

"You like proof, eh?" demanded the Mexican, pressing 
his advantage. ^^Btienol you come with me inside the 
palado and before my guest, before the joumaUst, before 
the whole world I make you my proof. I make you the 
challenge. You dare to. come?" 

"For God's sake, don't go!" said Tad, quietly. " The 
whole thing's a plant." 

At a signal from Aggrimonte his guards would have 
bayoneted Castleman where he stood, but the appear- 
ance of Mrs. Getts with Lieutenant Fletcher and Senator 
Cactus, as they came from the palace, offered a tactical 
diversion which the colonel seized and turned to advan- 
tage. 

"Mr. Fletcher, you and the Senator conduct the ladies 
to their car and start for home." 

Fletcher caught an unusual note in his commander's 
voice, and something strained and potential in the air. 
He touched his hat and became at once the efficient 
soldier. He crossed at once to Miss Buck as she came 
from the Consulate, but she avoided him, and, coming 
dose to the colonel, she said in a whisper: 

[236] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"Father, you*re not going to let this — " 

"You obey orders like a good soldier/* said the colonel, 
now at his best. 

"Yes, sir, but don't you let him get away with it, dad; 
don*t you let him get away with it." 

"Gor 

"Yes, sir." As she passed Tad instinctively their, 
hands met for an instant, and she miumured, "Remember, 
I beUeve in you." And she passed on to join Mrs. Getts, 
Fletcher, and the Senator, and the f oiur walked slowly up 
the street toward the Alameda. 

"Sergeant," called the colonel to his subordinate, 
"take care of those people!" 

"Yes, sir," said the soldier, and, leading the colonel's 
horse, he brought up the American rear. 

Suddenly, without warning. Tad swayed and would 
have fallen but that he was handcuffed to Enrique. 

"Here, you!" said Buck, gruffly, pushing him up and 
with none too gentle a hand, "stand up, damn you! Don't 
let these people see you show the white feathw." 

"Is bad conscience, Coronel," called Aggrimonte, with 
a sneer. "The man is guilty. Leave *im to me." 

"Just a minute, please! Castleman, what is it? 
What's the matter?" 

"Clayton, old man," gasped Tad, "could you get me 
a drink?" 

"Sure, old boy, in a jiffy." And the consul hastened 
into his house. 

"Sorry, O>lonel," said Tad, weakly. "Been in the 

saddle for God knows how long, and nothing to eat! 

I'm a bit dizasy, that's all. I'll be over it in a second. 

Would you mind if I sat down for a minute?" 
i6 I«87l 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Why, of course," decided the colonel, without con- 
sulting General Aggrimonte, who might perhaps be con- 
sidered the o£Bcer of the day. "CertaijJy; of course," 
he said, assisting him. "Come now, pull yourself to- 
gether," he urged. And with Enrique on one side, and 
Buck on the other, they got him to the steps of the Con- 
sulate, where the prisoner sat down. 

Then Tad showed remarkable recuperative powers, for 
he coolly glanced up at the stars and stripes floating im- 
mediately above him and with a beautiful, boyish grin 
he said quietly to Buck: 

"See where we are. Colonel? Under the flag." 

The colonel glanced up, and there must have been 
some inspiration to the old campaigner in the flag, for 
he called a halt on his rear-guard action and turned to 
face the enemy and give battle. 

"General Aggrimonte," he called, and his voice had a 
new note in it, "you are right in holding me responsible 
for these smugglers, and I shall take that responsibility. 
These men are my prisoners, and I will show you that we 
do not always allow them to escape." 

General Aggrimonte smiled, the smile ot one quite sure 
of himsdf, <me who could therefore afford to be patient. 
Oh no, Coronel, dispense me, senor. Is my prisoner — 



99 



mme. 



You will be glad, I'm sure," said the colonel, firmly, 
"to have me relieve you of the responi»bility and hand 
them over to the United States authorities." 

"No, seflor." 

"It will be more useful to you and your cause for us 
to make an examine of them than for you to punish them. 
I ask you to regard thexn as my prisoners." 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"What you say?'^ And the words came sibilant 
through the general's teeth. "Is not possible, sefior. 
You take them from me? Madre de Dioa! I would not 
permit you, Coronel/* The olive skin of the infuriated 
man turned a sickly dirty white as he struggled to control 
himself. 

"Th^ are under our flag, on United States territory. 
Fm going to take them.'* 

The colonel spoke without heat or emphasis or emotion, 
but every person in the sound of his voice, whether they 
understood the words or not, knew that something had 
been said, something that might make the narrow space 
between the municipal palace and the Consulate histmc 
ground^ something that might change the destinies of 
nations and the configuration of a continent. Th6 mean- 
ing of it was not lost on the Mexican commander. These 
crazy Yankees! What madness were they not capable 
of? The seriousness of it made him cold under his white 
heat, steadied him as he replied: 

"But you win have to cross Mexican ground, sefior, — 
my country, where I am in command!" 

Clayton re-entered from the Consulate. His mind, too, 
had been traveling fast, and when he came out of his 
house the drink of brandy for Castleman was not the 
only thing he brought with him. In his own pocket was 
an automatic gun, and while Castleman was drinking 
he slipped another to the colonel with the remark: 

"You and I are liable to lose our jobs. Colonel.*' 

"Perhaps. I don't know," was the stolid old soldier's 
reply. "I'm not much on the dipl(Hnatic end of it. 
You and General Aggrimonte may stay here and argue 
it all out between you till kingdom come, but these men 



PEACE AND QUIET 

are my prisoners. One of them — ^well, I happened to know 
the scoundrers mother. If the authorities over me de- 
cide to hand them back to the Mexican o£Bcials afterward, 
that is their affair; but, say, Mr. Consul, you can keep 
out of this if you like." 

"Why, what do you think I am? I woiJdn't turn 
Castleman over to these people any more *n you would. 
They'd shoot him first and apologize afterward. Go as 
far as you like." 

"Get up, you two," said the colonel, gruffly, to the 
prisoners. 

Enrique drew back, pale and reluctant, but Tad got up 
and dragged his fellow-prisoner to his feet with a sudden 
accession of strength very suspicious in a fainting man, 
and the Mexican groaned aloud as the steel handcuff cut 
into his wrist and almost broke it. On the left of the 
prisoners stood the colonel, with the automatic held 
loosely in the flat of his hand, but not aggressively. On 
their right stood Clayton. Clayton was a tall, lean, cold 
man with a lean, cold face, and somehow he seemed taller 
and leaner and colder than usual a^ he casually smoked 
his cigar, rested one foot on the steps of his veranda and 
stretched out his right hand to one of its supports or pil- 
lars. His left hand was resting innocently in the pocket 
of his coat. Now Clayton was a left-handed man. Ig- 
norance of this important fact had proved inconvenient 
to some people and fatal to others during the consul's 
mining-town experiences, for he had acquired a f aciUty 
for shooting through his coat pocket with distressing 
accuracy. As the Americans left the shelter of the Con- 
i^ulate and stood upon Mexican ground, General Aggri- 
monte met the challenge by turning to an officer in com* 

[2401 



PEACE AND QUIET 

maud of his soldiers and giving a curt order which brought 
the Mexican infantry sharply to attention. Anything was 
now possible. 

Fate loves to down it» play harlequin, and balance 
these tragic moments on its painted nose. Squawking 
geese saved Rome. A cow kicked over a lamp and burnt 
up Chicago. A fool or a madman blew up the McdnSy 
and Spain ceased to be a colonial empire. War came in 
spite of the fact that it has never been established that 
the wanton act was committed by a Spaniard, and in 
spite of the reluctance and opposition of the American 
President. 

Was it to fall to the lot of Thaddeus Castleman, jester, 
to rearrange the map of North America? 

One of Fate's favorite tricks of conjuring is the pi^ycho- 
logical moment. The affront we bore patiently yester- 
day we kill for to-day, and if to-day passes, we laugh at 
to-morrow. 

The significant movement by the Mexican troops drawn 
up before the palace was not lost on Colonel Buck. 
"Greneral Aggrimonte," he said, quietly, "the consul has 
passed me an automatic gun. I presume he is similarly 
equipped." 

"Surest thing you know,'' assented that worthy, lazily, 
through his cigar. 

"No one will be allowed to put a hand on these prison- 
ers,** continued the colonel. "Th^ are going with me." 

A little hissing noise escaped through the teeth of the 
general as he replied, scornfully, "Is Yankee bluff." 

"It isn*t any bluff. General. There is only one way 
you can prevent it. You can turn your soldiers loose and 
wipe out this little party." 

[2411 



PEACE AND QUIET 



**1b act of war, Coronel,'^ cried the Mexican in haaor. 
**I give you one poose. The lesponobility is upon 
you.^* 

**A11 ri^t, I take it. Come,'* he said to his prisoners. 

The Mexican commander gave the order, and every 
Mexican gmi was leveled on the four men opposite. There 
was a horrible second or fraction of a second, and then 
the tall, lean, cold man with his hand against the support 
of his veranda tore loose a small American flag that 
adorned the pillar in honor of the festive occasion, and 
flashed it swiftly through the air and in front of the 
colonel and his two prisoners. As Greneral Aggrimonte 
nused his hand to give the order to fire his ^e caught the 
significance of the act. It was the p^chological moment. 
Clayton and Buck were men with concrete minds fastened 
on a concrete act. Fortunately Aggrimonte was a man 
with imagination. 

Quicker than it takes to tell it, his agile mind had 
covered the situation. His chief, Huerta, was still en- 
deavoring to conciliate the American Government. Aggri- 
monte's plans for the humiliation of the hated Yankee 
in the palace had gone astray. It was hard to give them 
up, fpr they involved no danger, but a volley fired into 
that little party across the street might have consequences 
of the gravest nature. The general, as Tad had sfud, was 
one of the largest landowners in Mexico, and all his vast 
estates were in this border region. One volley into that 
little group might lose to him and to his people the whole 
of northern Mexico, incidentally everything the general 
owned. Besides, the general thought he saw a better way. 
He hesitated. Fortunately his soldiers waited for the 

command, and when it came it was, **AUol *' (" Halt! ")• 

[M21 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Come on!'* said the colonel, and the small party of 
four turned and moved slowly up the street unmolested. 

The cab-driver, guilty of some gross stupidity, beats 
his horse. So Aggrimonte turned upon his bewildered 
troops and covered them with a torrent of abuse, and 
'then he turned abruptly and entered the palace swearing 
a red, white, and blue streak. But he was already mak- 
ing plans for the easier and the better way. 



CHAPTER XXra 

AS they moved up the narrow street Colonel Buck's 
/\ party presented four inviting and nervous backs 
^ ^ to the soldiers of Mexico. Four nervous backs! 
It is much more comforting to face danger. The back 
seems to be an invitation to manslaughter. — ^R. S. V. P. 
The spine is a very sensitive part of the anatomy. It 
seems to have been safely placed in the rear in order to 
give the man with an ordinary amount of courage the op- 
portunity to preserve it. We are told that it is possible 
to confront an infuriated animal and hold it at bay with 
the dominion of the eye. We confess that we never tried 
the experiment long enough to speak with authority. It 
was in reality a very short walk to the bend in the road, 
but to those four nervous backs it stretched out like the 
retreat of Xenophon. The natural inclination was to 
haste» but to all outward appearances the march was 
made slowly, with dignity, almost nonchalantly; but it 
is violating no confidences to admit that when the four 
nervous backs were beyond the reach of a direct fire, 
their ganglion began to untie and relax, and there was 
the spontaneous giving way to a long, deep breath. 

The colonel paused and reconnoitered. Th^ were not 
followed. That was reassuring. So far it was obvious 
that the rhino had scored over the panther. Clayton had 

(244] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

described Buck as a bull-headed soldier without an ounce 
of sense. They have their uses, these direct, unimagina- 
tive men with slow mental processes, who take a step at 
a time, and that immediately in front of them. There is 
a cold indi£ference to consequences and a hot indifference 
to consequences. Aggrimonte owed his success to the 
fact that though he had the usual emotional facility it 
was never spontaneous, but calculated to a nicety. This 
capadty to foresee consequences is very useful at times. 
The Americans did not know it, but their play had been 
powerfully backed by a secret order from the Mexican 
capital, urging upon the border commanders caution in 
the treatment of Yankee susceptibilities. The stubborn 
old Indian who sat in the palace at Chapultepec still 
cherished the hope of influencing the stubborn man at 
Washington. T^e futility of this hope was realized by 
Tabasco's commander, who had dreamed of making him- 
self the most conspicuous figure in Latin America by a 
brilliant coup which would humiliate the Yankees without 
challenging intervention, but when it came to firing on 
an American o£Bcer, an American consul, and the Ameri- 
can flag, it seemed to invite trouble both from the north 
and from the south. 

Where the colonel and Clayton with their two prisoners 
paused for a long breath was the parting of the ways. 
The road to the right led into the Alameda, with its 
splashing fountain and the twitter of love-birds amid its 
flowers and trees. The road in front led straight out to 
the mesa and to the river. To the left the road led into 
the crowded, noisome quarter of the town, its dark alleys 
and lanes deserted, for all Tabasco was in the plaza, the 
palace, or the Alameda. The colonel surmised the auto- 

1245J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

mobile must be well on its way to the river and the Inter- 
national bridge, but where was Murdock, his sergeant, 
and the horses? And what about the prisoners? Consul 
Clasrton had intimated that the colonel's high-handed 
proceeding might not meet with approval from those in 
authority; in fact, might be repudiated, with serious con^ 
sequences. They had taken the prisoners. What were 
they to do with them? Would th^ be permitted to take 
them unmolested to the American side, and how was it 
to be done? The necessity for immediate decision and 
immediate action was obvious. The minutes they stood 
there seemed hours, and the colonel was banning to 
enumerate a long list of the uncomplimentary things 
applicable to Murdock, when the sergeant loomed oiit 
of the darkness to the left, riding cautiously. He reported 
that Fletcher had sneaked the car away from the publiciQr 
of the Alameda, and had run it into a dark side street 
where thqr were waiting for the colonel. 

'* Waiting?" exclaimed Buck, angrily. ^^I ordered 
Mr. Fletcher to start for home at once." 

Following Murdock's lead, they came by devious ways, 
for which Tabasco displayed a talent, to the ear» which 
was nestling in the shadows, and breathing rhythmically, 
but with an undertone of suppressed excitement. The 
lights were out, so as to attract as little attention as pos* 
sible. An animated discussion was in progress which 
made up in intensity what it lacked in volume, with Mrs. 
Gretts, Senator Cactus, and Fletcher for the affirmative, 
and Miss Tranquillity Buck standing out for the negative. 
I say standing out advisedly, for the affirmative was com* 
f ortably seated in the car, but the negative was contuma- 
ciously holding out, presenting to thdr arguments the un- 

(846] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

answerable logic oi the immovable body. There being 
no irresistible f oroe in evidence, the inmiovable part of 
the argument seemed to have the decision with points 
to spare. 

''Get into this car this minute," entreated Mrs. Getts, 
tearfully, ''unless you want to see us all butchered at 
sunrise by that irresponsible ruffian.*' 

It^was too dark for Mrs. Getts to see the look of scorn 
turned upon her by the daughter of the regiment. 

"I^m not going to stir a step until I know what has 
become of my father and his prisoner — ^prisoners," she 
hastily corrected. 

"The colonel's orders. Miss Tranquillity," mildly sug- 
gested Fletcher. 

"The rest of you can go on, if you like," was her re- 
joinder. 

This magnanimous permission somehow failed to elicit 
unbounded enthusiasm, and the deadlock maintained in 
the smoldering silence until the colonel and his party 
deployed upon the scene. 

Mr. Fletcher," began the colonel, sternly. 
Sorry, sir," said the young officer, saluting. 

"It is not Mr. Fletcher's fault. Colonel Buck," said his 
daughter, e»uly. "It woidd be quite impossible for Mr. 
Fletcher to put me into the car by force, hold me there, 
and drive at the same time." 

The unhappy colonel faced this rank insubordination 
with pathetic helplessness. 

"I wouldn't go until I knew what had become of you 

and-*-^e others. Besides, suppose we had gone off and 

left you in the lurch, what would you have done with 

your prisoners?" 

I«47l 






PEACE AND QUIET 

One of the few indisputable things in the colonel's 
world was the cleverness of his daughter, and in the 
secret recesses of his soul he made obeisance before it 
now, but he always made an elaborate pretense of ignor- 
ing it, though that pretense never deceived her or anybody 
else. 

"Yes, yes," he said, easily, "we'll manage, we'll man- 
age." Back of this nonchalance was the assumption that 
the colonel had foreseen and planned for every emergency. 
Mr. Fletcher," he said, "it will overload yoiur car, per- 
haps, but I guess you can manage to take the prisoners^ 
Afraid of it, sir?' 
'Nonsense.^ 

Well, sir, this little car wiU normally hold five and 
abnormally hold six. With both prisoners we'd carry 
seven. Might get away with it under the best conditions, 
but just before starting from Fort Gordon I foimd the 
left-hand steering-knuckle had developed a crack." 

"A crack? Why in thund^ did you bring it over here, 
then?" 

"Well, I insisted on coming, father," interposed Miss 
Buck. "You see, we only had three in the car then 
and rt looked like a fair risk, but with seven — ^well, I 
think Mr. Fletcher is right." 

There was a profound pause during which nine minds 
contemplated the transportation problem. The moun- 
tains in labor producing nothing even of the size of a 
mouse, Tad ventured to speak. 
May I say a word, sir?" 

You may not," thundered the colonel, exasperated 
b^ond measure by his own perplexity. 

Again there was silence, a silence made doubly dis- 

[2481 






PEACE AND QUIET 

treasing by the palpable and intrusive disapproval of his 
exacting daughter. 

"Colonel/* said Clayton, quietly, "if you will allow me 
to say so, Castleman knows more about these people 
and this country here than any of us. It might be well 
to hear what he has to say." 

"Well?" growled the colonel, grudgingly, not to Clay- 
ton, but as a concession to the austere silence of Miss Buck. 

"I left a buckskin pony back there in the plaza," said 
Tad, suggestively. 

"WeU, what of that?" 

" I think I could sneak back and get him." 

"You want me to make you a present of a get-away. 
Is that it?" 

"You could send yoiur man here with me. He*d see 
that I didn't get away; besides, what would I do with 
a get-away? I couldn't use it. It wouldn't do for me 
to be caught by the rebels. They think I betrayed them 
to the Federals. I can't prove I didn't, and they wouldn't 
give me a chance to prove it. I'm not crazy to see my 
friend Aggrimonte again. What would I want to get 
away for? I face a firing-squad any way I play i^. No, 
the climate of Mexico doesn't agree with me at present. 
You're losing valuable time. Suppose Aggrimonte changes 
his mind? He'd stop you at the bridge. Or suppose he 
turns some of his regular irregulars loose on you? He 
can repudiate what the irregulars do, call them bandits, 
and make an awful howl about bringing them to justice. 
That's the usual thing. You can stuff Enrique in the car 
there as excess baggage, and they can get off right away, 
and the women — This is no place for women, is it?" 

Tranquillity nodded with approval. "Yes," she said, 

[849] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



^'now that I know you are safe, father, I think pdhapa 
we*d better be going/* 

*'Ye8,'* urged Mrs. Getts, plaintivdy, ^we ouj^t to 
get away." 

There seemed some reason in what the prisoner had to 
say. 

Buck turned to Fletcher. ** Think your cracked knuckle 
will stand for six?'* 

** Perhaps, with careful driving.** 

^^But you're handcuffed to Galboa,** commented the 
colonel, looking at Tad and trying to make up his 
mind. 

'"Well, that's eaqr. You have a tod-boK and a file, 
or a cold chisel and a hammer.** 

No one responding to this suggestion with alacrity. 
Miss Buck, while her father was pondering, nodded to 
Murdock, who stepped forward and touched his hat. 
Things were deciding themselves. The colonel grunted a 
surly assent, and in the light of the lamps, lit for that pur- 
pose, the soldier cut the prisoners apart. The best seat 
in the little car, next the driver, having already been 
pre-empted by the Senator, the back seat occupied by the 
two ladies and Consul Clayton, it was made plain unto 
£nrique that a seat in the bottom of the car was es- 
pecially reserved for him. There being ladies present, the 
conduct of the little Mexican dandy was above reproach. 
After a momentary expression of triumph at the expense 
of Castleman before the palace, he had viewed the sub- 
sequent proceedings with the innocent interest of a wdl- 
bred child. Bowing formally to bo h ladies and murmur* 
ing his apologies for inconveniencing them, he took his 
uncomfortable place in the tonneau with his back to one 

[ftM] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

door and his feet at the other and composed himself for 
sleep. Slowly the little overloaded car with its infirm 
knuckle moved down the crooked, narrow street. 

The three men watched the machine until the darkness 
dosed around it, and then the colonel turned to Murdock. 
"Sergeant,** he said, "take this gun of Fletcher's. Bring 
this fellow and his horse back with you. If he starts 
anything or you get into trouble, take good care of your- 
self. If the Mexicans take him again, they can have 
him. I'll wait here with the horses.'' 

"Yes, sir." 

"Thank you, sir," said Tad, simply. "All right, 
Murdock." 

As the sergeant slipped his left arm into Tad's the latter 
was aware of the proximity of a man. The soldier's 
touch was light, but it suggested power. The two men 
were of nearly equal height and weight, and as they slipped 
along the road back toward the Alameda, it occurred to 
Tad that in a struggle tot the mastery it would be any- 
body's fight, a spcnrting event of the nicest balance, and, 
considering his own addition, with the odds in favor of 
Murdock. Hugging the wall and favoring the shadows, 
the two men finally came to a halt before a pocket in the 
darkness. 

"Murdock," said Tad in a low tone, "do you know this 
viUage?" 

"No." 

"Well, I do. Do you mind if I suggest?" 

"Go ahead." 

"I don't think we'd better go back the way we came. 
This alley here bends around back of the Considate, and 
by tiyVJi^g and manoeuvering a little we can come up 

im] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ness. Would it work? It was worth a trial. He leaned 
toward the sergeant and pointed in the direction of the 
band-stand directly in the center of the plaza. 

The band-stand was the center of a vortex. Life flowed 
sluggishly around the plaza, getting slower and more con* 
stricted as it reached the center. 

"Say, you'll have a fine time gettin' a horse out of 
there, won't you?" asked Miu-dock, eying the pack and 
indiscriminate jumble of carts, wagons, buggies, auto- 
mobiles, carriages, oxen, mules, and saddle-horses; for 
the guests of General Aggrimonte had come from near and 
far, and in contraptions illustrating aU ages and aU 
styles of human locomotion. 

"We'll manage it," said Tad, lightly, as they stood up 
and took a siu'vey of the task. 

Even before they were aware of it the Americans had 
become objects of interest to their neighbors. No one 
had to be told that they were strangers, Yankees, Gringos; 
but there was no hostile manifestation. Was uot this a 
night of joy and gladness? Festal days were scarce in 
these troublous times, and happiness was a swallow that 
flew into one window and out at the next. Gaily the lilt 
of "La Grolondrina" danced out into the moonlit air, and 
the hearts of the hearers responded. Were not the flags 
of the two peoples mingling in fraternal embrace? Be- 
sides, these northerns always had money, curse them! 
and were liberal spenders. The night was beautiful; 
music filled the air, smiles were abundant, but centavos 
were none too plentiful and pesos were in a retirement 
that threatened to become permanent. Business was un- 
deniably slow, and the reported presence of easy money 
passed from merchant to merchant with incredible swift- 

[254] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ness. The good oflSces of a considerable part of the float- 
ing population were immediately at the service of the db- 
tinguished guests. If the illustrious gentlemen were de- 
sirous of liberating their ill-gotten treasure all Tabasco 
would lend a hand. 

What would they have? Would they but indicate their 
royal pleasure? Would it be trinkets, or candies, or 
pastries, or tortillas? No? Well, perhaps it would be 
delicious enchiladas with chopped onions, chili, and 
cheese. Ah! behold, hot from the charcoal-stoves! Or, 
if their imperial pleasure so inclined, there was a stall 
hard by where they could meet a divinely appointed salad 
made of figs and canonized with garlic; or — assuredly 
tastes will differ — ^would it be red peppers stuffed with 
tomatoes and chili, washed down with Uruapan coffee, 
whose aroma is the incense of Paradise! Tad smiled 
graciously at their enthusiasm. How simple life was here, 
to be siure — ^a straw mat, a tin stove, and a dog! Very 
simple it seemed, this domestic economy, to one fresh 
from the land of sanitary plumbing and swat the fly. 
While the illustrious strangers were deciding, the crowd 
of the interested and willing increased with alarming 
rapidity. 

"We'll have to buy something, Murdock," said Tad 
to his companion. 

"Speak for yourself," said Murdock, dourly. "If they 
get a nickel out of me they'll take it from my dead body. 
If I had my way I'd bring over a couple of companies of 
regulars and clean out the whole town." 

"Hush! Some of them may understand English. 
Well, with your permission I'll do a little buying just for 
the good-will of the beggars. In our country they knock 

[2551 



PEACE AND QUIET 

you down and take it away from you. Here they let you 
play emperor. I like their way best.*' 

^^Muchas gradasy miLchas gradaSy seflorsr* said an old 
woman who had fought and clawed her way to the front, 
and now stood appraising the foreigners with piercing, 
black, hungry eyes. She made a noble gesture as she dis- 
played her wares, a gesture that honored the customer 
and at the same time called heaven and earth to witness 
as to the superiority and desirabiUty of what she had for 
sale. Her stock had been carefully selected with a view 
to tempting the rich and powerful who would be at the 
grand baiUey and the night was going and she had made 
no sales. 

"I've got to buy or there'll be a riot, so go to it, 
Murdock; take your pick. I'll pay for it." 

"What's the old witch saying?" asked the sergeant, 
eying her with disfavor. 

"Why, she has us tagged as illustrious, faithful, and 
devoted sons of the most holy Mother Chiu-ch, and what 
will bring us greater consolation here and joy hereafter 
than a rosary or a crucifix? She's sure got some beauties. 
That ivory crucifix is a wonder ! I told her I was a heathen, 
but that you just escaped being a priest, and that your 
uncle was a cardinal." 

"Me? A Catholic? I'm a Presbyterian, if I'm any- 
thing, but I guess I ain't anything; but say, I know a girl 
that's a Catholic. I shouldn't wonder if she'd like one 
of them things." 

The old merchant did not understand English, but she 
did not miss much of the substance of what was said, 
and when Murdock, with some consideration for Castle- 
man's pocket, would have selected a modest rosary, the 

[256] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

old woman politely but firmly refused to allow the illus- 
trious gentlemen to be pikers, and insisted on the ivory 
crucifix. Tad laughed at her shrewdness, and, taking 
the exquisite carving from her hands, passed it to Murdock 
with the remark: 

"Give it to your sweetheart with my compliments, and 
may it bring you both good luck." 

Murdock took it and eyed it awkwardly with some sense 
of its beauty and value as Tad put his hand into his 
pocket and drew it out full of coins, gold; silver, and 
copper. As he» dropped a gold piece into the hand of the 
old woman, some one in the crowd, either purposely or 
perhaps accidentally, knocked against his arm, and in a 
twinkling the coins were in the street, on the steps of the 
cathedral, and in the fists of the enterprising citizens of 
Tabasco who were near enough and quick enough to seize 
a golden opportunity and turn it to account. 

"Stop, ye little thief!'* yelled Murdock, as he cau^t 
an^ angel-faced child by the hair of the head and under- 
took to. pry a twenty-dollar gold piece from his chubby 
fist. "Give it up, ye little blackguard. Give it up." 
But the little blackguard only gave it up after a struggle 
and under compulsion and with loud and passionate 
protests. 

After the angel child had been separated from his loot, 
Murdock stood flustered and confused with an ivory 
crucifix in one hand and a gold piece in the other, and his 
prisoner — ^where was his prisoner? 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE progress of the little overloaded car was slow, 
irritatingly slow, and the tempers of the occupants 
did not improve under the strain. Lieutenant 
Fletcher at the wheel was sensitive to the fact that every- 
thing he did or did not do was hopelessly imbecile in the 
opinion of his companions, and he was beginning to trans- 
fer his perfectly natural resentment to the little machine, 
which was doing its best under trying conditions, but 
which seemed to be developing a distinctly nasty streak, 
like a balky horse. All the play in its joints, rods, and 
bolts complained loudly at its treatment. The animate 
and the inanimate seemed to react on each other. 

"Mr. Fletcher,*' moaned Mrs. Getts, plaintively, 
"couldn't you go a little faster? I want to get home." 

Fortunately for Fletcher, he did not have time to ad- 
just his feelings to a reply, or he might then and there 
have ditched his reputation as an officer and a gentleman. 

"Faster?" echoed Miss Buck, with acerbity. "Faster? 
Did you ever have a crack in your steering-knuckle, Mrs. 
Getts?" 

Mrs. Getts remaining discreetly silent under this im- 
putation. Miss Buck continued: 

"Slower, if you please, Mr. Fletcher, or we won*t get 
home at all." 

[258] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"Oh/* said Mrs. Getts, apologetically, "Fd forgotten 
the thingamyjig.*' 

No one was likely to forget it thereafter. The road 
was villainous and every sag and bump sent a separate 
shudder up from the defective knuckle into the suffering 
nerves of the passengers, until the fissure threatened to 
register in each brain as a personal lesion. The only in- 
dividual in the car who was comfortable and happy was 
the prisoner. Truly, Galboa was a gifted man, with a 
genius for both profanity and sleep. 

"Look at the littie beast snore!" exclaimed Mrs. Gretts, 
making an ugly gash in her English in her exasperation 
at the si^t of so much intrusive and provocative con- 
tent. 

Painfully the littie car crawled through the noisome 
slums of Tabasco until it emerged on the mesa and the 
travelers could take a long, deep breath of the clean, cool 
air reaching up into a heaven resplendent with the lights 
of other w^orlds. 

"Mr. Fletcher," said the consul, leaning forward, 
"would you mind stopping for a moment?*' 

"U anybody stops this car again I'm going to get out 
and walk," remonstrated Mrs. Getts, dolefully. "I've 
been personally easing it over bumps and lifting it out of 
holes until I'm about exhausted, and I want to get home." 

As each one in the car had been vicariously engaged in 
the same imaginary undertaking, there was no general 
sympathy for her special distress. Clayton repeated his 
request in a tone of even greater conciliation. Fletcher 
brought the car to a halt, and then deliberately enunciated: 
Well?" in a tone that challenged a reply. 
What Castieman said about irregulars," said the 

[259] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

consul, soothingly, "is worth considering. It is perfectly 
possible for the guard at the bridge to receive a hint by 
telephone to allow themselves to be overpowered or over- 
awed by a band of raiders who would stop our party, 
seize our prisoner, and perhaps abduct some of us to hold 
for ransom — ^the Senator, for example." 

The Senator did not speak, but he removed his hat as 
if overpowered by the mere compliment, and beads of 
perspiration broke out in clusters on his dome-like brow, 
so reminiscent of the dome on the Capitol at Washington. 

"I wish I had never come," moaned Mrs. Getts, a 
phrase that gained nothmg by repetition ux the opinion 
of her companions. 

** Oh, come," snapped Tranquillity, " be a sport. You*re 
safe. No one is going to kidnap you, unless the raiders 
want to start a peace movement." 

"Mind you," reassured the consul, "I don't think it is 
at aU probable. I only say it is possible. Or General 
Aggrimonte might change his mind and interfere with us 
at the bridge. I'm the only one here who is armed, and 
with two ladies in our care a scrimmage is out of the 
question." 

At the suggestion of being the center of an indiscrimi- 
nate fusillade Mrs. Getts would have slid to the floor of 
the tonneau, only it was fully occupied by the genial 
Galboa. 

"If you ask me," murmured the Senator in a hollow 
voice, "I would suggest the futility of crossing the bridge 
until we come to it." 

Whether this was a deliberate pleasantry, or a veil 
thrown hastily over his own perturbation, it was received 
with a ^silence th^t was uncompromising and aggressive. 

1 260 ] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Is there a ford within reach?" asked Fletcher, with a 
manner denying the remote possibility of such a thing. 
About five or six miles up the river," said the consul, 
the stream widens out and becomes very shallow this 
time of year. I think with care we could cross there. 
What do you say?'* 

"We'll take the ford,** announced Miss Buck, with 
decision. 

"I can't swim,'* whimpered Mrs. Getts. 

"I can," declared Miss Buck, with a logic feminine 
and unanswerable. "We've got to land this little scoun- 
drel in the guard-house at Fort Gordon. That's our 
job, isn't it? All right. Go ahead." Miss Buck having 
made up everybody's mind, the automobile moved on up 
the river. Lieutenant Fletcher had no illusions as to 
who was in command at Fort Gordon, or in the brave 
little car. 

"Keep this road and take yoiu* first turn to the left," 
said Clayton. 

The new road was worse than the old. 

The little car complained bitterly. We know that peo- 
ple are very sensitive to things, but few of us realize how 
sensitive things are to people. Sometimes a machine 
seems almost to think. It certainly has "feelin's." The 
Uttle engine was beginning to resent the people in the car 
and their nervous ill humor. No one had accused Flet- 
cher of the streets and smells of Tabasco, of the imper- 
fection in the knuckle, and the discomfort of overcrowd- 
ing; but he knew that ill humor loves a shining mark 
and dearly loves a victim. The desire to hold some one 
responsible is one of the fundamental tests of our universal 
brotherhood, 

[261] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

At times our higher nature seems to demand some one 
or something to kick, fletdier felt that he was being 
invisibly and mentally kicked by his unreasonable pas- 
sengers, and there was an unconscious desire to pass it 
on; so when he put his foot to the throttle, instead of 
being a gentle pressure, the engine got the impression 
that Fletcher was trying to pass on his kick. Anyway, 
the car gave a lunge, snorted in protest, and died on the 
spot. Galboa was the only one who did not give free 
expression to the utterly low and d^raded nature of that 
car and its makers, aiders, and abettors. Fletcher got 
out and applied himself unto the crank with an energy 
that soon exhausted itself. Then he tickled and teased 
and coaxed the naughty little thing, but it remained utter- 
ly indifferent and irresponsive. Then he stood off and 
surveyed it with baffled hatred. Though he had removed 
his hat, his coat and vest, and then his collar and tie during 
the proceedings, he was wet with sweat, not so much from 
exertion as from nervous exasperation. 

He had a strong elemental impulse to kick its wicked- 
ness in the drip-pan, but army discipline is a noble thing. 

The occupants of the car were long on advice, but 
short on service. No one of them moved until the 
futility of cranking was demonstrated, then Miss Buck 
and the consul disembarked and began to display a more 
or less unintelligent interest in the proceedings; but the 
Senator stuck grimly to the front seat, Mrs. Getts snuggled 
defiantly in her comer, and Enrique gurgled serenely on. 
Miss Buck quietly found the searchli^t and lent her 
assistance to the investigation silently, without suggestion, 
and the ordinary love of an ordinary man then and there 
turned to worship. The poet has assured us that "a voice 

[262] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

soft and low is an excellent thing in woman," but, oh, the 
eloquence of intelligent silence! Nothing the Psalmist 
ever said was more wonderful than — Selah. 

The yoimg soldier had long been an admirer of Miss 
Buck's, a devoted admirer, but not always and altogether 
without misgivings. 

The perfervid romanticists have told us that the lover 
who hesitates is lost. Not so. Love is as variant as the 
lover. Appraisal is not unthinkable in your true lover. 
Assuredly even the most perfect of women have their 
best points, and if one is conscious of the best points it 
presupposes a consciousness of those not so good. In the 
calmer moments of some of our most successful lovers 
there are judicious and judicial moments not inconsistent 
with a little arithmetic and bookkeeping, a system of 
checks and balances. A man mentally incapable of 
ratiocination along these simple lines is not necessarily 
the best lover. Love that is blind is an affliction. Mr. 
Fletcher was a carefid, thoughtful man, and the fact that 
he was in love with Miss Buck had not blinded him to the 
fact that she was high-spirited to an extent bordering, 
perhaps, on temper; that she had a playfulness which at 
times approached a dangerous gift for sarcasm. Wit 
may be enlivening and amusing in the drawing-room and 
in the banquet-hall, which would be brutal over the break- 
fast-table. Fletcher was not particularly responsive to 
wit, especiaUy when it was top personal. TranquiUity 
had the faculty of demanding attention, compelling de- 
votion, which she teased and worried with baffling co- 
quetry. A sedate, serious-minded man Uke Fletcher felt 
awkward playing dead, rolling over, begging, and jumping 
through a hoop. However, over against these considera- 

[ 263 ] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

tions the colonel's daughter was an acknowledged 
beauty. 

In moments of repose she looked as if she might have 
slipped off an Old World ivory miniature, or as if she were 
a Watteau shepherdess gowned and brought up to date; 
but in moments of excitement she looked like a pocket 
edition of war. The fair-minded reader will admit that 
Fletcher was justified in thinking carefully as to his future 
and Miss Buck's. Nature never intended Fletcher to be 
frivolous, but what chance he had disappeared with his 
hair, which receded early in his career and left him in- 
cipiently bald and prematiu-ely grave. 

His family was a substantial one. The Fletchers had 
served their country with conspicuous ability and had 
not neglected their own interests. They had a carefully 
selected ancestry, so irreproachable as to suggest that it 
had been hand-picked. As a family the Fletchers had 
long enjoyed a favorable opinion of themselves, and not 
without reason. In one respect Fletcher was unique and 
unusual. He was an officer with an independent income. 
Now there is something about an independent income 
that commands respect. Fletcher was not unduly con- 
scious of his advantages, but he would have been less or 
more than human if the mammas of marriageable young 
ladies had left him in doubt as to the fact that he was 
a desirable parti. 

"Hold yoiu* light here,*' he said to Tranquillity. "Al- 
low me, please," he added, as he took her plump hand in 
his greasy fist and placed the searchlight where he wanted 
it, and they were both conscious that he held her hand 
longer than was absolutely necessary for pm^ly utilitarian 
piu^oses. The young soldier was aware of a peculiar 

[264] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

glow, a divine thrill from the point of contact, and then 
and there, over the spark-plugs. Lieutenant Fletcher cast 
doubt aside and knew for a certainty that Tranquillity 
Buck was the future Mrs. Fletcher, for richer or poorer 
(undoubtedly richer), for better or worse, till death 
should them part. These are sacred moments in a man's 
life, and it was the Senator's misfortime to blunder into 
this sacred zone. 

"If you would look into your tank," he suggested, 
oracularly. 

Fletcher glared at his hugo bulk with cordial dislike 
and rasped back: "Think so? All right, get up! You're 
sitting on it." 

Slowly and reluctantly the. Senator discommoded 
himself, only to demonstrate that there was no lack 
of gasoline. Then he had the air of a man with a 
grievance. 

It's the carbureter," announced the consul, geniaUy. 
Sure to be, as it's nothing else," replied Fletcher, with 
growing irritation, "only it's the feed-pipe," he added, 
hastily, as he tried the float. 

"I wonder we didn't think of that l)efore," sweetly 
murmured Mrs. Getts in confidence to the nearest star. 

"But now that we have discovered it, Mrs. Getts, I'm 
afraid I'll have to trouble you," said Fletcher, not sorry 
to discommode so much complaisance. 

"Oh dear," she groaned, "must we walk the rest of 
the way?" 

"No, I hope not; but the pump is under the back seat, 
and I'll have to have it." 

"My, I wish I could sleep like that little pig,'* she 
sighed, with frank envy, as she scrambled over the body 

[m] 



it 



PEACE AND QUIET 

of the little Mexican dandy so oblivious to the discom- 
fort of those about him. 

Having cleared the clogged pipe, connected it up, turned 
on the gasoline, the little engine which had seemed dead 
for all time recovered its breath, resumed its good humor, 
and the brave little car with its supercargo began once 
more to crawl over the mesa. 

When they reached the fork in the road mentioned 
by the consul, they turned abruptly to the left and found 
a road less worn, but more tortuous and uneven than 
the one they had traveled. 

The lieutenant required all his skill to niu'se and coax 
and ease the machine along without disaster. The six 
miles to the ford seemed like a day's journey in the 
brooding silence. At last they reached the brink of the 
bluff overhanging the river. Here the road seemed to 
just fall over and sprawl down into the bottoms. Miss 
Buck ordered a halt and decided that they should all 
alight and walk down the steep embankment. The ob- 
vious wisdom of this was received with resignation, but 
not enthusiasm. It was tacitly agreed that Enrique 
should be left in morphetic bliss, with the feeling, per- 
haps, that if there had to be an accident he ought not 
to be allowed to miss it. I'm afraid the beauty of the 
river dreaming under the tranquil stars was lost on our 
travelers, with one exception. The colonel's daughter 
looked back over the stark desert with its grotesque and 
ghostly cacti standing out in the moonlight like lost spirits 
writhing in perpetual torture, and her thought went out 
to the man to whom she had said again: 

"Remember, always remember I believe in yoV." 
Where was he? And what was he doing now? 

[266] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

It was hard to believe in bim, but harder not to beUeve 
in him. When the cold light of day should come he 
would be a prisoner in the guard-house at Fort Gordon, 
and then what? 

Sliding, slithering, rocking, and bumping, the brave 
little car negotiated the descent somehow, followed by the 
weary walkers. 

Both ladies suffered from aggravated high heels, but 
Mrs. Getts carried her center of gravity with an imcer- 
tainty most disquieting. She therefore appropriated the 
consul as a human brake and shock-absorber. At the foot 
of the bluff they encountered the river sand. All hands 
were ordered to collect driftwood while the chauffeur 
adjusted the chains on the rear wheels. There was a 
dreadful moment when the machine sagged into the 
treacherous sand, and every revolution of the wheels 
only seemed to dig her into a deeper grave. Then the 
driftwood held and she gave a leap, jumped free, and 
before they could stop her she was on the pebbly beach 
at the water's edge. Every one gave a sigh of relief. 

After a moment's pause Clayton pointed out to Fletcher 
a tree on the opposite shore as his objective. After they 
had resumed their places in the car the lieutenant pulled 
up his belt, took a long breath and, turning, said: 

"Everybody all right?" 

There being no response, he threw his gear into first 
speed, and took the water at a gentle angle, advanced to 
second speed, and all was well. As Clayton had said, 
the river was wide but shallow, and they had passed well 
beyond the center of the stream when it happened. 

We take this opportunity to assure our brother motor- 
ists that a sudden sharp dip into one rut or hole followed 

[267] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

immediately by a sudden sharp dip into another is trying 
on the best-tempered steering-gear, but when the steering- 
knuckle is afflicted with a distinct lesion we confidently 
affirm that the double shock is fatal. If you doubt it, 
try it. The heroic little car had lived up to the paid 
panegyric of its advertising agent up to those two ruts, 
and then the left front wheel separated from the car as 
if cut away by the single stroke of a knife; the car lurched 
and plunged forward like a wounded soldier, and then 
buried its nose in the river bottom with an impact that 
lifted the graceful form of Senator Cactus over the wind- 
shield, which was at half-mast, and launched the states- 
man at full length in the gentle stream. Fletcher re- 
mained in the car only because he clung to the wheel 
with the tenacity of a trained instinct, and the rest of the 
occupants of the car cushioned one another from acute 
violence, while Mrs. Getts registered a scream that 
stretched easily from shore to shore. Enrique Galboa 
awoke from his happy dreams with a confused sense of 
being broken in two, accompanied by a disagreeable 
sense of wetness. A compulsory bath is the last word of 
cruelty to a true Mexican, and the imhappy little man 
fell back upon his one supreme gift and swore with a 
volubility and versatility that was lost on everybody 
but the angels, who are supposed to understand all lan- 
guages and even dialects. 

A French cynic tells us that we have a chastened satis- 
faction in the misfortune of our friends. 

We confess that the tall, rotund figure of the Senator 
arising gracefully like Venus from the wave does not fill 
us with grief, and we decline to be moved by the plight 
of the mere males of the party, but we feel that we owe 

[268] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the reader an apology for allowing cruel fate to place our 
two heroines — ^for we gallantly affirm that every woman 
is an actual or potential heroine — ^in such an undignified 
and uncomfortable position. Wading, even when divested 
of every element of danger, is undignified and uncomfort- 
able, and it takes on the additional aspect of the grotesque 
when the wading is done in ball gowns and high-heeled 
shoes. Strange to say, as the six miserable human beings 
slopped, sloshed, and slunk ashore no one laughed or 
even smiled. 

iS 



CHAPTER XXV 

WHEN Murdock came to and {ound himself with 
a twenty-dollar gold piece in one hand and a 
beautiful ivory crucifix in the other, he flushed 
hot with shame and anger. For a moment he stared into 
nothingness, irresolute, clumsy thoughts stumbling over 
one another in his mind. He had a vivid picture of facing 
Colonel Buck with a twenty-dollar gold piece, an ivory 
crucifix, and an explanation. He was conscious of the 
simplicity of the explanation, and his hopeless incapacity 
to manufacture a plausible one. The one concrete fact 
was that the prisoner was gone. Which way? He stared 
wildly about him, slipped the coin in his pocket, and un- 
consciously put his hand on his gun, but he did not draw 
it, realizing the danger and futility of such a proceeding 
with the crowd pressing in upon him. He felt an un- 
reasonable rage with these good-natured people, smiling 
and chattering, and, of course, enjoying his discomfort. 

He tried to think what the fugitive would do and how 
he would do it. For want of any better plan, he started 
for a bunch of saddle-horses clustered around the band- 
stand. Tad had pointed to this group. Would he have 
done so it his horse had really been there? Murdock got 
the impression that there was a hurried movement in 
that direction. He quickly discovered that Tabasco's 

[270] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

dtizens were not assisting his progress. Naturally the 
first impression of these simple-minded folk was that 
Murdoek was in pursuit of those who had been fortunate 
enough to connect with some of the Yankee money, and 
the prevailing sentiment was that the more American, 
money stayed in Tabasco the better; so there was an 
unorganized but efiFective interference which made the 
soldier's progress distressingly slow. This did not im- 
prove his temper. 

Dodging here and there, twisting in and out, under 
horses' beUies, over ox-carts and autos, running the risk 
every moment of being stepped on or kicked to death, 
he finally reached the band-stand only to discover that 
it would have been almost impossible for Tad to have 
extricated a horse from that packed jumble until the 
whole confused mass began to move and break up from 
without. 

Hot with his exertions and exasperated beyond words, 
the sergeant made his way to the rail of the band-stand, 
mounted it, and, holding to a wooden support, looked 
about over the crowded plaza. 

What would Castleman do? Would he try to hide 
in Tabasco or would he hike for the desert or hit the 
trail for the mountains? There was plenty of room in 
Mexico. 

The band-stand was crowded. 

Somebody has called the Mexican '^half devil and half 
child." Murdoek voted him all devil. The natives were 
puzzled, but they sensed agreeably that the Yankee was 
baffled and angry, and their enjoyments are few. Sud- 
denly the sergeant saw something that made the blood 
rush back into his face with a sudden fury. Back on the 

[271] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

steps of the cathedral* from which he had just come, he 
saw a well-set-up figure of a man in khaki waving a soft 
felt hat at him in salutation. 

Murdock felt the smile that he could not see. In his 
eagerness he almost fell from the railing into the crowd* 
which was at first inclined to resent this abrupt descent 
upon them, but it was a holiday crowd in a holiday mood, 
so they accepted the soldier's hurried apologies, and set 
down the rudeness to Yankee peculiarities, which ac- 
count for anything that is impossible, unreasonable, and 
unpleasant. By the time Murdock had reached the cathe- 
dral steps Castleman, of course, had vanished, and though 
the sergeant had not expected to find him waiting, hat in 
hand, ready to be apprehended, his rage, when he turned 
and faced his own impotency, was not conducive to 
mental clarity. 

To his fierce staccato inquiries the devil-children turned 
sympathetic glances and amiable interest, but the ser- 
geant did not speak or understand Spanish, and his 
efforts in the sign language only proved amusing to his 
appreciative audience. With brief but uncomplimentary 
reference to the poverty of their understanding he plunged 
back into the crowd, now going with the casual drift, now 
surging against it, then crossing it at different angles, 
peering sharply into every face, ready to pounce upon his 
victim. After combing the square Murdock found him- 
self back where he started. He took off his hat as if to 
remove every obstacle to the free exercise of his faculties. 
What next? The prisoner had escaped and had the whole 
of Mexico before him. 

It was night. He was totally unfamiliar with Tabasco. 
Was it worth while to go prowling through its dark alleys 

12721 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and purlieus? He was alone, a marked man. He had 
been seen with money in his hand, real money. 

There were enterprising citizens in Tabasco who would 
commit murder for almost any part of a dollar. In fact, 
in the case of a Gringo, it wouldn't be murder, but a 
public-spirited proceeding stimulating to civic pride and 
inviting popularity. There was, too, a certain choleric 
officer stewing back there in an ill-smelling alley, who was 
counting the seconds until he returned. There was 
nothing the matter with Murdock's courage, which had 
been proved, but he was not a fool, so he reluctantly 
turned away, slipped into the shadows of the cathedral, 
and, when he felt sure he was not followed, quietly re- 
traced his steps to the place where he had left the colonel 
and the two horses. 

Colonel Buck's remarks when he had heard his ser- 
geant's report are unprintable. Perhaps one profoundly 
versed in human nature might have detected a shade of 
over-emphasis which bespoke an unacknowledged sense 
of relief. Perhaps the colonel was not himself aware of 
the exact nature of his own feelings. Perhaps it is safer 
to leave the colonel's real feelings in the twilight zone of 
emotion. Perhaps one of the reasons subordinates were 
created by an all-wise Providence is to furnish a natural 
and easy outlet to the emotions of their superiors. How- 
ever, the colonel left Murdock in no doubt as to the 
latter's ancestry, his capacity, or his future. Then they 
rode away in silence and complete harmony until they 
reached the bluff, and paused at its brink to look down 
at the placid river and the International bridge. 

Now to some people a bridge is just a bridge, and 
sometimes things are clear and real in the night that 

[27S] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

dissolve and disappear in the glare of day. If you pause 
a moment and look, I think you will see a narrow bridge 
reaching from anarchy, want, chaos, horror, over to peace, 
plenty, and enlightenment, from one world to another, 
from one civilization to another. For the colonel and his 
companion it was only a bridge. 

"What's that?" said the colonel, more to himself than 
to the sergeant. Murdock did not answer, but bent for- 
ward in his saddle and gazed intently toward the river. 
Two groups of horsemen were to be seen moving from 
opposite directions and converging on the Mexican end 
of the International bridge. As these groups met at the 
entrance to the bridge they were confronted by the 
Mexican guard. There was a moment of confusion, of 
brief excitement, and then some five mounted men took 
a place on the bridge and the rest divided and took 
positions commanding the approaches to the bridge-head. 
There were some forty or fifty men in all. 

"Huh!" muttered the colonel. "I guess it*s lucky you 
lost your man. Come on." 

Without hurry the two Americans rode from the mesa 
straight to the bridge-head, where they were speedily 
surrounded and greeted with a stem command to halt. 
The regular guards had been relieved of their weapons 
and were in real or pretended custody. For the two 
Americans it was an unpleasant moment. They were in 
the power of an armed mob, without uniform or military 
insignia, and without responsibility, as the consul had pre- 
dicted, a force whose action might be condoned or re- 
pudiated as it suited the Federal authorities. To the 
inquiries hissed at him by the bandits' leader the colonel 
found it convenient to pretend ignorance of Spanish. 

[274] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The leader of the armed mob was plainly baffled. He 
retired to consult with some of his men. Where were the 
prisoners they sought? They could wreak their vengeance 
on the American soldiers, but evidently that was not in- 
cluded in their instructions. Time was pressing. After 
a short, sharp colloquy one-half the band rode down the 
stream and the other half rode up the stream. The two 
Americans waited quietly as two columns of dust rose in 
the air. The Mexican regulars had obviously had their 
weapons restored to them, but they ofiFered no interference 
as the colonel and Murdock rode quietly across to the 
American side. Mexico is a country where strange things 
happen. When the colonel reached home in the early 
hours of dawn and found no one to greet him, when he 
learned that nothing was known at the fort of the auto- 
mobile party, of his daughter and Mrs. Getts, incidentally 
of the others, he was very much disturbed. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

IT was a bit of boyish bravado. Tad's waving a de- 
fiance to Murdock across the square, but it had a 
purpose, too. As soon as Tad saw the sergeant plow- 
ing his way to the spot where he stood he slipped back of 
the cathedral and, zigzagging his way through back 
streets and alleys, doubled and crossed his own track, 
and by a wide detour arrived on the outskirts of the 
Alameda at a point where it was almost deserted, away 
from the lights, the music, and the crowds. 

Here he looked about somewhat anxiously until he 
found a ragged urchin blissfully sleeping with his brown 
head laid against the faded red of a Navajo blanket spread 
carefully in the capacious seat of a Mexican saddle 
sprawled upon the grass. Tad gazed at him for a mo- 
ment as if loath to disturb a picture of such content. 
One little brown arm was poked through a horsehair 
bridle and a lariat in such a way that it was quite im- 
possible to disturb the property he was guarding without 
disturbing the sleeper. Tad shook him gently, and finally 
got him to his feet. The child seemed to find it hard to 
come back out of the dream shadows until Tad held 
before him a big, round Mexican silver dollar: then his 
soft, black eyes flashed, a dirty little fist shot out, and 
young Mexico was on the job. 

1276] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Tad spoke a few words of instruction to him, put the 
lariat into his hands, showed him some duplicates of 
the silver cart-wheel that looked as big as the moon to 
the boy, bade him hurry, and the youngster was oflf 
on the run, showing that it is possible for these sun- 
baked dream children to hurry when they want to. 

When he was gone Tad rolled and lit a cigarette, lay 
down where the boy had slept, and with his head in the 
saddle drew a long breath as he looked up into the starry 
night. He was tired, very tired, but he had no wish to 
sleep, the excitements of the day and night in Tabasco 
having made sleep impossible. He was glad he had trailed 
Aggrimonte and Enrique to Tabasco, where he had hid 
until the night made investigation possible; glad he had 
uncovered their well-planned scheme to discredit our 
country; thankful, above all, that he had saved Tran 
from a situation fraught with all sorts of disagreeable 
and dangerous possibiUties. Was she safe? Siu*ely Ag- 
grimonte was too clever a politician to involve himself 
in an attack upon American women — ^women who were 
privileged to claim special protection as his guests. Still, 
there were always handy the regular irregulars, those 
convenient thugs, those irresponsible bandits who would 
stop at no atrocity. In his varied experience in bar- 
barous Mexico Tad had a shuddering knowledge of what 
they could and would do. He thought of her last words 
to him as she moved away into the night, the reiteration 
of her belief in him, and he was grateful beyond words 
for her generous impulse, but he did not set undue store 
by her emotion. Life had him licked. Twist and squirm 
as he liked, it was impossible to get away from his past, 

his follies, his mistakes. The more he struggled the more 

[2771 



PEACE AND QUIET 

he emneshed himself. He was the victim of reaction from 
the strain, and he was deep in the slough of despond. 

What did it matter, anyway? There was just one 
thing he must do, one thing more, and then he — Well, 
what the hell! 

He must have fallen asleep in spite of himself, and it 
was well for him he did, for he needed unstringing if only 
for a few moments. Suddenly he sat up, conscious and 
painfully alert, just in time to prevent Buckskin from 
making a successful get-away from the little brown 
brother at the other end of the lariat. The yellow 
scrap of horseflesh was a new creature. Gone was the 
"dejected havioiu* of the visage," the pathetic sag, the 
weary droop of the tail. The wicked white eyes 
were roUing savagely. For a moment the little cayuse 
dreamed of the new freedom, of the pampas and the 
wide mesa, and the good old outlaw days before work 
was invented, and man with all his abominations was 
only a terrifying smell, occasionally polluting the clean 
breath of the prairie or crossing one's horrified vision. 

Before he had quite made up his mind to start an in- 
surrection a firm hand had hold of the lariat and the only 
human being who had ever been kind to him was fondling 
his muzzle and making agreeable noises comprehensible 
even to the equine mind. 

" Why, you Uttle devil !" said Tad, confidentially. " Go- 
ing back on your best friend? Why, you ungrateful little 
beast, you never were in a stable before in your life, never 
had a ciurycomb on your back, never had your legs washed 
with soap and cold water, and never had a feed of grain! 
You wouldn't have known an oat if you had seen it. 
You're drunk. Don't know how to take prosperity, do 

[278] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

you?" And Tad chattered familiarly with Buckskii), 
and with sympathetic understanding established a modus 
Vivendi with the rebel; and while the nervous little bronco 
was trying to make out just the meaning of this pleasant 
manner and these few kind words Tad had the bridle 
and saddle on him, and the hated workaday world was 
back for Buckskin. However, when the great hair cinch 
came up with a horrid squeeze Buckskin forgot himself, 
put back his ears, bared his vicious teeth, tried to grab 
Tad's arm and kick a couple of stars out of the sky all 
at the same time. 

Tad caught his muzzle with a slap and hissed at him: 
"That's your idea of being friendly, is it? I'll knock 
you down in a minute. You got a yellow streak, you 
have; in fact, you are a yellow streak. Now, now, be- 
have!" And Buckskin seemed to realize that he had gone 
about as far as the law would allow. 

"Why, old pal, got a couple of feeds of grain for you 
here," Tad added, as he tied a gunny-sack back of the 
cantle. "I wish I was as sure of my grub as you are of 
yours." But Buckskin wasn't listening. He shook his 
head impatiently and moved about with nervous and rest- 
less irritation, as much as to say: 

"What's the matter? Why don't we get going?" But 
Tad was not to be hurried. He tested the cinch and the 
stirrups, carefully tied his lariat to a thong under the 
horn, made a careful appraisal of horse and equipment, and 
with a satisfied air turned to his young friend, dropped 
a couple of silver dollars into his brown palm, made him 
a profound bow with a sweep of his Stetson, and, mur- 
miuing, ^^Muchas graciasy senor,*' leaped into the saddle. 

The yellow peril leaped into the air, stood on his hind 

[279] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

legs, plunged wUdly with frenzied rushes, varied by sud- 
den, sickening, and dynamic shocks, and finally streaked 
ofiF down the road in the direction of the river, punctuat- 
ing the landscape with interrogation and exclamation 
points, dashes, doUar signs, circumflex accents, and hard, 
double colons. Tad made no efiFort to check this exuber- 
ance, but all his energies were for the time being employed 
in remaining in the company of his equine friend. 

This he managed to do by careful attention to the de- 
tails involved and without losing his temper, which was 
even a greater achievement. After this very showy over- 
ture Buckskin settled down into a strong, harmoni- 
ous, rhythmic movement, and Tad once more resumed 
command. 

They were soon clear of the town and its environs, and 
then horse and rider turned and went directly west, and 
later into the hills northwest. Buckskin was going strong, 
and Tad felt the joy of the rush and sweep of the willing 
little beast until they were well into the mouth of the 
cafton leading up to the Orinoco silver-mmes, then the 
pony began to feel the suggesticm of a restraining hand, 
and he heard a coaxing voice say: 

"Easy, old boy, easy. You'll get plenty of this before 
you're through." 

Tad was following the wagon-road which paralleled the 
single-track railroad over which he had driven the iron 
mule and the ammunition train. Buckskin was head- 
strong under restraint, and they made rapid progress 
until they came to a long railroad trestle thrown across 
the turbulent stream that flashed and dashed its way to 
the river below. Here a gash in the hills crossed the 
ca£k)n, and a little mountain torrent flung itself with 

[280] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

abandon into its grand passion and was swept away and 
swallowed up in the supreme selfishness of its lover, just 
as that lover would be swept away and forgotten by the 
river below, and the river in turn by the restless and 
omnivorous sea. 

In the shadow of an overhanging boulder Tad drew 
rein, and Buckskin was at last not unwilling. Like a 
huge centipede the trestle sprawled in the brilliant moon- 
light, silent and still, asleep, but looking ominous and 
treacherous. As Tad sat gazing across at the other side 
his eyes narrowed to a point, his teeth set, and his muscles 
tightened. Nothing in his adventurous life had left in 
him any bitterness. "Fortune's buflFets and rewards he 
had taken with equal thanks." It was all in the game 
and he was young; but Enrique's double treachery left 
in him a somber fury. It was unthinkable that he could 
leave that perfidy unchallenged. During the time Tad 
had spent in Tabasco he had kept his eyes and ears open, 
and he knew his worst fears had been realized. It was 
the talk of the town, the clever way in which the Rurales 
had cut across the hills, caught the train in a bowl, am- 
bushed and slaughtered its convoy, men, women, and 
children; for the insurrectos had their families with them, 
had already established informal light housekeeping on 
wheels, and were taken completely by smprise. 

Tad closed his eyes and shuddered as a realization of 
the horror came to him again. He could see it all as 
plainly as if he had been there, and it threatened to be- 
come an obsession. Aggrimonte and the Federals should 
not profit by the massacre! He was staking his life on 
that decision. These semi-savages were not going to re- 
peat the tale and tell each other that the Yankee's patron 

[281] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

saint was Judas. These fireside yams become legends, 
and legends become history, and what the children babble 
in school shapes the destiny of nations. 

Buckskin was surprised and annoyed by the violent 
urge that followed these thoughts of his rider as he left 
the road and plunged down into the cut that intersected 
the cafion. When he had reached the level of the water 
Tad dismounted and led Buckskin up-stream to a clump 
of willows and cottonwoods, where he tied the cayuse and 
left him. Then he stopped and listened. Nothing broke 
the silence but the noise of rushing waters. He climbed to 
the road again and listened once more. Nothing was 
heard that rose above the song of the turbulent stream! 
With great caution, and shunning the moonlight when 
he could. Tad made his way to the head of the trestle. 
Here he stopped and put his ear close to the rail. Then 
he heard something that cut the air close to his head with 
a warning whine and awoke reverberating echoes in the 
gorge. It was a sound with which he was thoroughly 
familiar, and he glanced up to see a half-dozen cavalry- 
men converging at the other end of the bridge, and he 
instinctively ducked and flattened himself to the wooden 
sleepers as the leaden messengers sought him out. Some 
of them struck the wood and were swallowed with a dull 
gulp; others rang loud on the steel rails, while others 
passed on down the caiion with a wail of disappointment. 

Tad lost no time in making for cover. Edging his way 
back on his belly, he reached the road. Here he was in 
the shadow of the cut, but it was necessary to reach the 
other side, and this passage was flooded with light. Little 
spirab of dust rose up around him as he crawled and 
scrambled over the narrow space. But once on the other 

[282] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

side he rose up and dipped down into the gorge and was 
lost to view of those who continued for some moments to 
shoot up the empty space on general principles. 

Tad did not at once make his way back to Buckskin, 
but found a spot in the contributing stream where he 
thought he could cross on the slippery rocks and boulders. 
He discovered that it was quite an imdertaking in the 
uncertain light that filtered down into the gully, and 
he had to thank his experience in the old gym at Prince- 
ton, the balancing, tumbling, and muscular control, for 
the fact that he got across without a wetting or an injury. 
When he was across he climbed the side of the hill to a 
spot where, concealed himself, he had a good view of the 
trestle from end to end. 

He had reason to believe that the consignment of arms 
and ammunition that he and Enrique took across the bor- 
der was the largest and most important single shipment 
lever taken into Mexico. Its loss was a great blow to the 
cause of the Constitutionalists, and its captiu'e a corre- 
sponding triumph for the Federals. It might cast the 
deciding vote in the civil war. Certainly Aggrimonte 
would not allow it to linger around on the border. He 
would try to get it down into the interior of Mexico at 
the earliest possible moment consistent with safety. 
This was not an easy task, considering the disorganized 
condition of the railroads and the proximity of predatory 
bands. Even with the ordinary precautions it would be 
slow work. Its importance was confessed in the fact 
that that train was now in the hands of the Rurales, 
Mexico's crack corps, and Tad knew it would have to be 
a large and well-handled force to take back the train 
from these disciplined regulars. 

[283] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

From the side of the hill he could see some of the 
cavalrymen dismoimt and apparently make an examina- 
tion of the bridge and its approaches. They were taking 
no chances. Others sat their horses, rifle in hand, ready 
for emergencies. More rode into view and at once de- 
ployed and plunged down into the ravine, presumably to 
make sure that no hostile bands had weakened or de- 
stroyed the supports of the bridge. Meanwhile the train 
itself rolled out of the black mouth of the cafion and 
slowly approached the bridge-head. A single car was 
detached and drifted cautiously across the trestle. Then 
three cars were drifted across. Reassured as to the safety 
of the bridge, the rest of the train was slowly sen\i over. 

The munitions were on their way back to the river 
valley. So far Tad had verified his conjectures; and the 
military escort was taking every possible precaution. 
Would the train be taken into Tabasco, or, avoiding that 
village, would it be switched down on to the Mexican 
Central? Further speculation was cut short by a piercing 
cry that rose on the night air and reverberated from cliflF 
and wall with startling variations. It was Buckskin's 
free-hearted greeting to his old comrades, now in the 
service of the Rurales. The disquieting whinny had barely 
begun before Tad was on his feet and plunging down into 
the ravine with a haste that was reckless of consequences. 
If Buckskin should fall into the hands of the Mexicans — 
well, the thought was terrifying. 

He had one advantage over his foes — ^he had marked 
the spot where he had left the little cayuse, and Tad's 
sense of location and direction was exceptional. There 
was no time to pick and choose his way; he fell, stumbled, 
slipped, slid through the underbrush, over rocks and roots 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and crumbling shale and earth, and all the whfle he could 
hear the words of command, and knew the enemy was 
spreading out a net for Buckskin and himself. 

At the thought that the little yellow fool might repeat 
his indiscretion Tad's heart stood still. Perhaps something 
of the sudden nervous tension, or the confused noises 
coming ever nearer and nearer, arrested the keen senses 
of the little beast, for he held his peace, but how long 
would he hold it? With a voice like that when would 
he be tempted to exhibit its shocking vibrato again? 

"Don't do it, old boy!" Tad talked to him as if he 
stood by his side. In fact, he had always used the con- 
versational method with animals, and he had had ex- 
ceptional success in establishing confidential relations. 
When Tad had reached the level of the stream he paused 
and listened, cold with sweat and unconscious of his 
bruises and cuts. Every sense was alert. He knew the 
enemy was on every side. Detached groups of horsemen 
were beating the bush above and below him. As they 
converged to the spot where he waited he quietly slipped 
into the stream, drew himself underneath the shelter of 
some overhanging willows, and waited. In ice-cold, swiftly 
rushing water he stood up to his armpits, steadying him- 
self with a grip on the tough branches. Immovable he 
remained until the enemy decided that he had crossed the 
stream and passed on; then he regained the bank, found 
the ford where he had crossed, and the clump of willows 
and cottonwoods where he had left the bronco. 

"Hush!" whispered Tad, as he approached, fearful 
that Buckskin would evince some vocal sign of pleasure 
at his return. "Hush! Don't say a word! Quiet now!" 
And the little yellow scrap seemed to understand. Lead- 

19 [2851 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ing the pony and picking his way, Tad worked slowly and 
cautiously up-stream until they were well away from the 
juncture ot the two streams and the railroad. Here he 
paused in a clearing, led Buckskin to the water, let him 
drink his fill, took a good long drink himself, fondled his 
little comrade's neck and muzzle, and murmured: 

" Close squeak, old boy, eh? Now I'm going to tell you 
a secret. I'm going to take it away from 'em. See? Just 
you watch me!" And as if satisfied that Buckskin under- 
stood and could be trusted, Tad mounted and rode away. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

IT was a dolorous squad» completely and unanimously 
miserable, that trailed sueeulently from the dancing 
ripples of the broad river and began a slow, heavy 
march in soggy silence over the bottomlands on the 
American side. Even Enrique seemed to have exhausted 
his chromatic repertoire. But theirs was not the silence 
of resignation, but of impotent resentment. Each of the 
sloppy six was holding the other five personally responsible 
for their common misfortune. Nothing disturbed the 
stillness but the squish-squash of the water-logged shoes 
in the dismal march over the gravel, sand, and driftwood. 
It was a via dolorosa. 

It is difficult to resist the temptation to fix and appor- 
tion blame, and Mrs. Getts started to say to Clayton: 

" You were the one that — ** But she did not finish the 
sentence, suddenly remembering that the consul was the 
only one who was thoroughly familiar with the country 
and the only one of the party who was armed. It must 
be confessed that the fact that some one was armed was 
a distinct comfort to the president of the Woman's Auxili- 
ary of the Universal Peace Society. So Mrs. Getts ap- 
propriated to her personal use the stalwart form of the 
consul, who, as the self-appointed guide, led the way. 
Miss Buck followed next and unassbted. When Mr, 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Fletcher would have placed himself at her disposal she 
rather curtly reminded him that he was personally re- 
sponsible for the prisoner, and the young officer obedi- 
ently linked his arm in that of Enrique, though the pre- 
caution was unnecessary, for the little Mexican gave no 
sign of energy even approaching an effort to escape. He 
seemed to have sworn himself into docility, if not ex- 
haustion. The dripping but heroic figure of the Senator 
brought up the disconsolate rear. 

Progress was necessarily slow, the habiliments of the 
ladies not lending themselves to either grace or freedom 
of motion. It is only fair to the extraordinary mind that 
designed these "creations** to admit that they were not 
originally intended for wading. 

"If I ever again — " began Mrs. Getts, with exaspera- 
tion; but what it was she would or would not do was 
never known, for a savage yell rose up into the night air, 
followed by triumphant whoops and the splutter of fire- 
arms. The startled Americans turned and looked back 
to see a rush of horsemen burst from a cloud of dust on 
the opposite bluff, and pause for a moment on its brink. 

The sight of the little wounded car lying helpless in 
midstream fired the enthusiasm of the bandits, and 
they plugged it generously, wasting their ammimition 
as if the thing were human. For a moment the former 
occupants of the car were paralyzed by the suddenness 
of the attack. Their first instinct was to cut and run, 
but they were barely half-way across the bottomland, and 
escape by fiight was hopeless. 

As by right, Fletcher took command. "lie down, 
everybody," he said, quietly. "Quick, you women." 

They needed no further invitation. 

[288] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Clayton, let me have your gun." 
Well, say," drawled Clayton, resting on one knee, 

you better let me keep it, unless you're awful handy 
with it. I used to be considered almost good with it." 

Now Clayton was a graduate from the rough school 
of the frontier and the mining-camp, and had earned a 
reputation in critical and exacting communities where 
mistakes or inaccuracy admitted of no explanation. 

Further debate as to who should manage the only 
bit of artillery was cut short by Enrique, who started to 
utilize the diversion to make a break for liberty. Flet- 
cher caught him firmly by the collar and forced him on 
the firing-line. In a well-conducted war you are not 
supposed to use a prisoner as a shield against the fire 
of the enemy, and Enrique was quick to register his pro- 
test, but Fletcher evidently did not consider the war as 
sufficiently well conducted or, indeed, as war at all, for, 
ignoring all theoretical and technical considerations, he 
steadily held the little dandy to the post of danger. 
After the Mexican rough riders had made a sieve of the 
little machine they became aware of the dark group on 
the opposite shore. With screams of exultation they 
spilled over the cliff and down to the river. Clayton 
widted. 

Even horses that will take the water face it with a 
momentary hesitation, so Clayton let the whirlwind reach 
the water's edge, and then he picked his men carefully 
and without hurry. 

The nearest raider crumpled over on his horse's neck; 
a pony dropped dead, shot through the head, and, as he 
plunged, threw his rider into the stream. Two of the 
bandits got to the middle of the river before Clayton 

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PEACE AND QUIET 

could attend to their business. He missed repeatedly, 
but he gave the raiders something to think of. The re- 
sistance was unexpected and disconcerting. The charge 
wavered, and Clayton emptied his magazine-gun. After 
that there was nothing to do but wait for the inevitable. 
A man, who was evidently the leader of the irregulars, 
had remained on the bluff, seated on a powerful, big- 
boned horse. The rider was big-boned and powerful, too, 
with a heavy, saturnine face. He watched the proceed- 
ings coldly until he saw that his men wavered and that 
only one of the Americans was armed; then, with a 
string of oaths he swept over the hill and down into the 
river, throwing high the spray, and never pausing until 
he was at the head of his men and calling on them to 
follow. Then of a sudden he threw up his arms, lurched 
heavily, slipped from his saddle, caught in his own stir- 
rup, and was dragged by his terrified beast through the 
water back to the Mexican shore. Clayton looked up in 
dumb amazement. How did it happen? His own gun 
was empty. Then in the terrifying confusion something 
resembling a Fourth of July celebration broke loose. 
The air crackled, snapped, and whined. Tiny jets of 
spray leaped from the water. Spurts of flame seared the 
night. The little huddled group upon the American 
shore, bewildered, dazed, were suddenly aware that the 
bandits had turned and were running for cover, carrying 
their dead and wounded with them, and from somewhere 
behind, out of the earth or out of the sky, and with the 
noise of hurrying hoofs a troop of cavalry swept down 
on them and past them, never pausing until they were on 
the Mexican side and the bandits had vanished in the 
night. 

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PEACE AND QUIET 

There are times when the uniform of the United States 
soldier looks good to even the inost anaemic of Americans, 
and it must be confessed that for once even the president 
of the Woman*s Auxiliary of the Universal Peace Society 
turned an indulgent eye on the condenmed insignia of war. 
In fact, when G)lonel Buck dismounted Mrs. Getts 
threw her arms about his neck and saluted him with a 
heartfelt kiss. 

It was a delightfully spontaneous and human thing to 
do, and was viewed in a most sympathetic light by all be- 
holders — all but one, the colonel's daughter. At this point 
fate takes the story out of the author's hands. Philoso- 
phers are fond of pointing out what a big part small 
things play in our lives. When Mrs. Getts suddenly, 
without thought or design, gave way to a generous and 
grateful impulse, she changed the current of several lives. 



CHAPTER XXVni 

HOT DOG was a railroad center, the post-office, 
market, depot of supplies, and pleasure palace for 
all the ranches and villages for a hundred miles 
up and down the river. For a number of years Senator 
Cactus had found it convenient to keep a traveling-bag 
with a change of linen and clothes at the Hotel Alameda, 
where he was very much at home. Certain of our public 
men still eschew anything approaching to the latest style 
in dress, believing that it suggests to their homely con- 
stituency Wall Street, trusts, predatory wealth, and the 
effete East. 

The Senator was very careful of his personal appear- 
ance, but he leaned heavily to the picturesque effects of 
the style known as "befo' the wah," and he had the 
splendid courage to wear what was left of his hair in the 
grandiose manner of General Logan and Buffalo Bill. 
The night clerk at the Alameda was a trained diplomat, 
but he fell from grace when the Senator and Clayton pre- 
sented themselves in the small hours of the awakening 
day and asked for rooms — vriih bath. The elder states- 
man was the only one of his party who had taken to the 
river in a wholesale way, but the appearance of neither 
gentleman was improved by the ride into town through 
a doud of suffocating dust which smeared as it smothered, 

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PEACE AND QUIET 

The Senatorial light was one not easily hid under the or- 
dinary bushel, and the hotel hireling was betrayed into 
a look of pleased interest as the great man stood before 
him hatless, for the imposing lid was now well on its way 
to the Gulf Stream. 

The Senator's face was large and heavy, the flesh ap- 
parently having been loosely tacked on, a sort of mov- 
able, unsteady face, designed to conceal a variety of emo- 
tions. His complexion, a sort of mottled olive, was now 
all that with variations, the dust and moisture having 
played it fantastic tricks- with a distinctly comic intent. 
His cultivated locks now strayed dank and disordered. 
His wet clothes seemed to shrink back into the crevasses 
and hollows of his figure and leave it in unrelieved, 
almost shameless outline. 

To relegate the hotel hireling to his place the Senator 
put on a bold front, but no front that has to be put on 
is very convincing, and it is positively pitiful in wet 
clothes and with one trousers leg at half-mast. Hot Dog 
is a town that is frankly pagan, shameless, and ironical. 
The clerk's face lost its professional look of bored vacuity 
as he took in the evidence against the great and good man, 
and he welcomed the fallen to the brotherhood of frailty 
with a grin of deUghted comprehension. The victim 
flushed guiltily. It is only hardened guilt that can look 
innocent before a comprehending grin. It is quite im- 
possible to call a grin a liar and swear to an elaborate 
alibi in the face of an accusation that has never been 
made. The good man was beginning to feel persecuted, 
and he glowered heavily at the offender, but all he could 
think of to say was: 

"Well, young man?" But the hotel diplomat caught 



PEACE AND QUIET 

its significance and hastily resumed his automatic ex- 
pression, but with a slight elevation of the eyebrow which 
plainly said: 

"Why, of course. Senator, have it your own way. We 
can and will ignore the plain evidence of a prolonged de- 
bauch, if you insist, for we all agree that the only un- 
pleasant part of sin is being found out. Yes, yes, and 
ha, ha!" 

What the diplomat actually said was: "You'll find 
these very comfortable rooms, gentlemen. Front!'* 

Clayton, not so sensitive to public opinion as his com- 
panion, said: "The bar, I suppose, is closed. Send out 
to a drug-store for the usual medicine, and do it right 
away. We need it." 

"Damn that fellow's impertinence," muttered the 
statesman as they took the elevator. The guests were 
shown to connecting rooms with an intervening bathroom, 
which they shared. By the time the medicinal comfort 
arrived Clayton was wallowmg in the purple luxury of a 
hot bath, but Cactus wandered about, preoccupied and 
troubled, almost obUvious of his physical discomfort. He 
swallowed his drink as if he did not taste it; opened and 
unpacked his bag as if he did not see it. Finally he an- 
chored in front of a pier-glass and saw himself extract a 
pulpy cigar from somewhere about his pulpy person and 
automatically go through the motions of trying to smoke it. 

"Clayton," he called to the other, "it looks bad to me." 

"Well, you certainly are a sight," was the cheerful 
rejoinder. 

"I mean the ah— the ah — ^the situation. I think we 
ought to go Into executive session and see what is to be 
done." 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"You may go into executive session, if you like," said 
Clayton, who was getting tired of his friend's pervasive 
gloom. "I'm going to bed first, last, and all the time, 
and any one who disturbs my slumber will invite 
trouble." And he was audibly asleep before the other 
had managed to divest himself of his tenacious habili- 
ments. 

The Senator was shocked at this desertion. Dis- 
gruntled, aggrieved, he also sought the consolation of a 
hot bath, but his knotted nerves refused the soft seduc- 
tion. Even bed brought no balm to his hurt mind. He 
rolled and tossed and squirmed, but there it was — ^the 
situation. He viewed it from all arcs and angles. Find- 
ing he couldn't avoid it, he grabbed it and juggled with 
it Uke a Japanese acrobat who Ues on his back and keeps 
the object turning, twisting, and spinning from his hands 
to his feet and from his feet to his hands again without 
ability to stop. 

Finally from sheer exhaustion he fell into troubled 
slumber, only to wake with a horrid start. He sat up in 
bed and realized he had been moaning. His dream had 
been very vivid and very unpleasant. He had been a 
gladiator in the arena in the huge amphitheater at Rome, 
and all Washington was there. He had waved his short 
sword at the tribune and yelled in his best voice, "Mori- 
turi salutamus," but without meaning it, with no inten- 
tion of dying, utterly unreconciled to dying. There was 
one and only one consolation in the dream; he was the 
center of interest. Multitudes and multitudes were 
gazing at him, yelling, screaming, gesticulating. Every- 
thing was confused. It was impossible to distinguish 
what they were saying. He reflected that he had never 

[295] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

to order by a Philadelphia firm. He instructed the mes- 
senger to bring only samples of the largest size and broad- 
est brim, but he awaited the result with misgivings. The 
result justified his fears. The largest thing in headgear 
that Hot Dog afforded was ridiculously inadequate, and 
when he put it on his Daniel Webster the Senator knew he 
was persecuted. When luck begins to run the other way 
she exceeds all speed limits. When she deserts her 
favorites she is no half-way deserter. And when her hear- 
ing begins to get bad she seems deaf to prayers, entreaties, 
peace-offerings, and blind to repentance, or even reforma- 
tion. When a great boulder starts rolling down-hill, it 
keeps going even when it reaches the bottom, traveling 
on its own momentum, crushing and smiting. What was 
the great man without his dignity? And one cannot be 
dignified in a hat that is several sizes too small for it. 
The new hat made even walking along the street an or- 
deal before which he shrank. It was a trying day, long 
to be remembered. 

It was half past foiu* o'clock in the afternoon, and the 
Senator had a bad headache, when Clayton made his 
appearance. First he sent for the hotel valet and handed 
his clothed over to be dried and pressed, then he ordered 
coffee and rolls, then he took a cold bath. Refreshed and 
radiant, he greeted the Senator with a cheerfulness that 
was felt by the latter as a personal affront. 

"That's all very well," mused the Senator. "What is 
Clayton's job and career to Clayton? He has nothing, 
or practically nothing, to lose. But my career? Well, 
that's something quite different, quite in another sphere." 

Even now the consul blandly refused to go into execu- 
tive session until he had had his coffee and had lit one of 

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PEACE AND QUIET 

the Senator's expensive cigars. After he had approved 
of the quality of the weed and had settled himself in an 
easy-chair, and elevated his feet to the center-table, he 
remarked, amiably: 

"Now fire away." 

The Senator eyed him with frank disapproval. "I 
think instead of sleeping away these precious hours we 
ought to have worked out some plans — '* 

"Why, you've worked while I slept, haven't you? I 
bow before your wisdom. Where do we go from here?" 

"I confess," weakly stammered the big man, "that I 
am completely at a loss. I only know that I will be 
made the victim— we shall be made the victims," he cor- 
rected, and paused feebly. 

"That moaning stuff won't get us anywhere, will it?" 
drawled the consul, with an indolent yawn. "Just how 
bad is it?" 

The other handed over the morning paper, and stood 
first on one foot and then on the other as the consul looked 
it through slowly and carefully, reading aloud certain 
passages Uke, "men higher up" and "social, poUtical, 
and financial standing of those involved." 

"Well?" groaned the Senator, plaintively. 

"Well, I don't think Goodey will talk, particularly if 
he knows that he can secure the services of the best 
criminal lawyers in the State, and that the aforesaid 
social, political, and financial interests are active in his 
behalf." 

Galboa?" moaned the Senator. 

How would it advantage Enrique to close up the 
soiuxies, or one of the sources, of his supply?" And the 
consul flicked his cigar ash in the direction of his com- 

[299] 






PEACE AND QUIET 

panion. **Why should Galboa help the Government to 
prove that he is a polyhedral scoundrel?'' 

^'What about Castleman?" suggested the statesman. 

"Tad? Never fear. He won't lie down and take the 
count. He isn't that kind. He's a scrapper from Scrapper- 
opolis. Besides, he knows that you cannot convict a free- 
bom American citizen down here even of murder, much 
less of smuggling, which is not a crime, but an industry. 
And you can do such a lot with time, lawyers, and a 
little judicious cash," 

The Senator winced slightly at the concluding word and 
sat down, while the consul smoked contentedly and con- 
tinued to view the situation from its various angles with 
the detachment of a true philosopher. 

The consul glowed with benignant joy in sharing his 
wisdom with a noble generosity as he added: 

"It's a commonplace that no law is stronger than the 
public sentiment behind it. Well, it is quite impossible 
for our citizens to sympathize with the Government's 
futile and inconsistent course. First the authorities tell 
us we may sell arms to the little brown brother; then they 
tell us we cannot, and then they tell us we may again. 
It's confusing, and naturally one makes mistakes, and pub- 
lic opinion will condone mistakes so human." 

"Yes, yes," interrupted the Senator, eager to stop the 
officeholder's eloquence. "That's very convincing to a 
man already convinced. How cogent would it sound, do 
you think, in a Federal court-room? There is another and 
the most dangerous element of all." 

"Yes?" 

"Mrs. Getts. Women will talk, you may have noticed.*' 

"My dear sir," protested the consul, "that is a 

[800] 



if 



PEACE AND QUIET 

malicious, man-made invention. The female ot our 
species is much more cunninger, if you will pardon the 
phrase, than the fool male. When it is to her interest 
a woman will hold her tongue longer and with a more 
perfect assumption of innocence than any man alive. 
That's my experience. On reflection Mrs. Getts may be 
our trump card, our chief asset." 

"How so?" 

"Why, she's a friend at court, a source of information ^ 
behind and within the lines, an invaluable confederate 
who is bound to play into our hands, play our game, and 
play it our way." 

You're an optimist," dryly commented the Senator. 
I don't see any use of hollering before you're hurt." 

The big man walked about reflectively for a moment; 
then he said: "I left word at the oflBce that we were not 
to be disturbed by any one, no telephone messages, and 
particularly no reporters; but I wish I knew just what has 
happened during this interminable day." 

"Bed is what has happened for most of those con- 
cerned." 

The Senator's cigar, with its intermittent activities, 
began to reflect the mental condition of the smoker, re- 
sponding furiously for a moment, then exhibiting symp- 
toms of discouragement and early dissolution. 

"I suppose," he cautiously suggested, "we couldn't 
manage to have a private interview with Enrique?" 

"Exceedingly dangerous and absolutely useless," was 
the comment of the other. 

"I wish we knew how he would act under certain cir- 
cumstances." 

"Well, we do know. Just imagine the meanest thing 
20 [ 301 1 



PEACE AND QUIET 

you can think of, and over against that balance the little 
rascal's self-interest; if the two coincide you know exactly 
how he will act. Otherwise, you'll never know what 
cards he holds until he plays *em.'* 

**How would it do to call up Mrs. Gretts on the *phone 
and find out, indirectly, of course, just what has tran- 
spired at Fort Gordon during the day?" 

"My dear fellow," protested Clayton, with amused 
tolerance, "don't let us get into a panic. There are two 
things to avoid: the pen is more dangerous than the 
sword, and the 'phone is next. No, leave it to me. Put 
on your glad rags and we'll go out to the fort this eve- 
ning." 

"Dear me!" objected the big man in obvious panic. 

"The boldest thing is usually the best thing. Dr. 
Whale is stopping at the fort, isn't he?" 

"Yes, with Major Douglas." 

"The surgeon? Good." 

"But for Heaven's sake don't let's go near Whale!" 

"Nonsense! That's the natural thing to do. We'll 
call and pay our respects to Whale, then we'll go over to 
the colonel's to find out how the ladies are feeling alter 
last night's ordeal. Very simple and very natural, and 
after we have made a few calls at the fort, believe me, my 
dear Senator, we'll be able to sort of feel out the situation 
and know about where we stand." 

The consul was right. 

The visit of the two gentlemen to the fort left them 
in no doubt as to just where they stood* 



CHAPTER XXIX 

TWILIGHT was deepening. A prairie fire caught in 
the sky, its low running flames spreading over 
vast spaces with startling rapidity; then it rolled 
up in huge billows of flame, dying down, as quickly as it 
came, into fading purples and dull grays, the pallid smoke 
widening out into a vast lake of translucent amber. 
Suddenly over all fell the magical shroud of night. The 
air was soft, alluring, and breathed expectancy. 

A limp, pathetic little girl, more child than woman, 
was sitting forlornly in the window-seat of her bedroom, 
softly crying, regardless of the becoming pink taffeta and 
the cloud of white lace. She was such a mite you looked 
to see if she had a broken doll in her hand. Was this the 
militant Miss Buck, the pocket edition of war? Where 
were the set lips, the uplifted head, the flashing eyes, the 
shoulders thrown back, the challenge, the defiance, the 
bewitching despotism? 

So Tad had disappeared, was gone, had escaped! She 
knew that much from her father, and that was all she 
knew. Where was he now? Was she glad or sorry? 
Both. Would she ever see him again? Oh, she was 
thankful they had not parted in anger! 

The commandant's residence at Fort Gordon was most- 
ly portico surrounded on three sides by house, and its 
privacy defended on the fourth side by the sheltering 

[303] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

trees and shrubs of a small garden, which dipped easily 
down to the broad, bare sweep of the parade-grounds. 
Beyond were the oflScers* quarters; further in the distance 
the shining river and the dark bluffs melting into the 
limitless mesa. The portico was furnished like a room. 
In fact, it was the living-room at headquarters, the very 
heart of the house. In a cozy corner of the portico two 
fireflies, or glow-worms, flared intermittently, the luminous 
spots rising and falling and rising again. The excitements 
of the previous evening had been too much, apparently, 
even for the moon, for the pale orb was late in rising. 
For some moments nothing broke the beautiful silence, 
and then from behind one glow-worm came a voice: 

"So Castleman escaped?" 

"Yes, and I can't say I'm sorry," was the other glow- 
worm's answer. 

There was the faint tinkle of silver upon china, and 
then the first worm spoke again: "No, no; Colonel, no 
more, thank you; but it is exceptional coffee. He can't 
stay in Mexico, you know. He'll turn up, I fancy. 
Castleman, I mean." 

"I hope not. He's worse than the walking typhoid." 

There was a little pause, and then the second worm ven- 
tured a remark which put out antennse, feeling the way: 
"I think I was justified. Doctor, don't you?" 

"Justified?" 

"Yes. I mean in letting the prisoner go back for his 
horse. The accident to the motor-car with only six 
passengers would seem to — ^to indicate that I was right. 
Don't you think so?" 

"I don't see what else you could have done. Colonel," 

^'Th^k ygu- I'm glad." 

[304] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

There was more phosphorescence, and then the other 
wonn put out antennae: "What about — eh — Galboa?'* 

"Oh, Galboa has been confined to the guard-house, 
where he has been searched — " 

"Searchedr 

"Yes. I gave orders that they should leave nothing on 
him but his skin." 

"I see. Yes, of course." And the glow-worm rose up 
with an indistinct shadow behind it. 

"Why, you're not going. Doctor?" 

"I'm a bit restless to-night, for no particular reason. 
I've got some letters to write, and — Oh, by the way, 
Colonel, anything you happen to find on Galboa please 
hold subject to orders from Washington. I think you'll 
get instructions to hand Galboa's papers over to me." 

A shadow appeared from the garden and two heels 
clicked together, and the shade seemed to come to atten- 
tion. 

"WeU, orderly?" 

"A man to see you, sir; says he's from the Associated 
Press." 

A sound like the sudden intaking of breath came from 
behind the glow-worm in the background. 

"Ciu-se the impudence of these chaps! I won't see 
him!" 

The shade saluted and turned, but was stopped by a 
quick protest. 

"Colonel, I wouldn't send that message, if I were you. 
Pardon my offering a suggestion. I think I'd see him. 
Can't do any harm! We'll treat him well and tell him 
nothing. Don't you think so?" 

"Well, all right, orderly, show him in, and tell Mr. 

[305] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Fletcher to bring Galboa here. I want to talk with the 
prisoner, and any one else that may be arrested in this 
smuggling ca^e. I want to see them here immediately." 

The smuggling case was getting on the colonel's nerves, 
and if there was any first-hand information to be had, 
he meant to have it, and if the pesky thing took any new 
angle he wanted to be the first to measiu^ it and get its 
slant. 

The orderly turned, disappeared, and some one walked 
over to the wall, pressed an electric button, and turned a 
soft, genial light on the portico living-room, disclosing 
Dr. Whale standing near a small table with an after- 
dinner coflfee service, ash-tray, cigars, etc. K the colonel 
had been a shrewd observer he would have noticed that 
the doctor was pretending to drink from a cup long since 
empty. 

**Why, hello, Cassidy!" said Whale to the new-comer, 
with almost excessive cordiality. " Glad to see you. Mr. 
Cassidy, this is Colonel Buck, the new commandant." 

"How are you?'* growled the colonel, grufOly. "Sit 
down, won't you?" 

The press representative sat down effacingly. 

"May I give you a cigar?" 

"Thank you — don't smoke." 

"Let me get you a real drink; this is only coflfee." 

"Never drink in business hours." 

"Well, old man — " began the doctor, genially, which 
was a misnomer. 

Cassidy was a young man, a most unprepossessing young 
man with a weak chin, faded eyes, and faded dust-colored 
hair. Faded is the word. He was a faded young man. 

"Colonel," said Whale, smiling at the press man, "I 

[306] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

want to tell you that though Cassidy here is a modest 
and retfaing young fellow, he*s one of the biggest men in 
the business. As a war correspondent — " 

"Colonel," said the young man in a faded voice, "the 
doctor is trying to use the block system on me. Do you 
get the semaphore? It's a red light. I'm dangerous, 
see? Well, now I'm not going to annoy any one. If 
you have anything you'd like me to know, anything 
you'd like me to say, why, I'm here," and the correspond- 
ent indulged in a reassuring, faded little smile. "Any 
news?" he added, sweetly. 

The harmless question was directed at the comman- 
dant, but it was Dr. Whale who answered it, a fact not 
lost on the interviewer. 

"Why, no, I don't think so; nothing worth mentioning." 

*^I thought that Colonel Buck might, perhaps, like 
to make a statement?" blandly urged Cassidy. 

"And why, sir? Why?" bridled the colonel, instantly. 

"Why, it was reported that you were sent down here 
especially to stop this smuggling, and — " 

"Yes, and I'll stop it, too, young man. I'll stop it, all 
right. Don't you fool yourself about that." 

Not a glimmer of shrewdness or triumph lighted the 
faded eyes of Mr. Cassidy as he continued in an imper- 
sonal voice: "And yet, sir, you let the biggest smuggling 
scheme ever pulled oflF get by you and you — " 

"Why, damn your impudence — " spluttered the colonel. 

Whale hastened to the rescue. "That affair is being 
thorougUy investigated, Cassidy, and when we really 
know anything — you understand? — why, I give you my 
word of honor you'll be the first man to get the story." 

Cassidy gave a perfect example of bored neutrality as 

[307J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

made the line where Mrs. Getts left oflf and the white 
satin began delightfully indetenninate. The poor man 
of war was quite helpless before the soft caress of the 
tone, the veiled allurement, the unconditional surrender 
of a helpless admiration. He didn*t even hear the words 
themselves, so she had to repeat them: 

" Any news, Colonel? Of the — smuggling case, I mean?" 

Half of the soldier's frown came back to his brow as 
he said, with affected carelessness, "Oh, it's under investi- 
gation." 

"Colonel," she purred, looking up at him archly and 
brushing imaginary dust from his manly bosom, "I 
should say the best thing to do in a case like this is just 
to drop it, ignore it." 

"Ignore it?" he cried, stiffening. "Ignore it? They'll 
make a monkey of me, will they?" 

It was evident that Mrs. Getts had no conception of the 
enormity of this Use majesUy for she pouted and shrugged 
her soft shoulders as she walked to the swinging seat and 
assumed an attitude separating herself from the colonel 
and all his evil ways. 

"But, Colonel," she grieved, "that's so un-Christian. 
You disappoint me. I've always looked up to you — " 
she paused as if helpless to measure the altitude of the 
pedestal upon which her adoration had placed him — 
" looked up to you, as — Well, I don't know how to express 
it, but there it is, up there." And she indicated the 
starry spaces. "And now to have my ideal shattered!" 

The colonel didn't know why he should feel small, but 
he did. 

"Why, you never know where these investigations will 
end," she protested. 

(810 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 



**I know where this will end," he snapped, viciously; 
**in every one connected with it going to a Federal prison." 

She looked at him with moist eyes, helpless to wider- 
stand such ferocity. "But, Colonel, it might involve — 
well, you never know — some one you liked — ^perhaps — " 

He looked sympathetic, but puzzled, and she blundered 
desperately on. 

"Well, youVe lived long enough in Washington to 
know that investigations are dangerous. Leave them 
alone, I say. You warm a nice, innocent-looking in- 
vestigation into life and it turns and bites you in the — 
well, wherever it*s most inconvenient." 

"Mrs. Gretts," said the colonel, kindly, "I don't know 
what you mean." 

She flushed, but whether she was suffering from a 
guilty conscience or her own mixed metaphor, it would 
not be safe to say. The gallant soldier to cover her con- 
fusion indicated the lilt of the maxixe that was floating 
in over the parade-grounds and said: 

"Aren't you going to the hop to-night?" 

She looked up archly and with frank appeal. "I'd go 
if you would take me." 

The colonel blushed like a boy caught with stolen 
apples. It must be confessed that neither Mrs. Gretts nor 
the colonel had forgotten that wonderful moment on the 
banks of the river, under the stars, when, in the sight of 
all, rescuers and rescued, she had saluted, nay, claimed, 
her knight, her champion, and the more they thought 
of it the more momentous and wonderful it seemed. The 
fact that she had taken to her bosom the personification 
of hated war did not even suggest itself to her. The 
stem logic of events affects our lives, but not our theories, 

[3111 



PEACE AND QUIET 

and the colonel, who had dedicated himself to single un- 
happiness for the rest of his life, was exalted to find him- 
self moved, touched by the trust of a beautiful woman. 
The dull routine of a colorless existence takes on a kind 
of glory when one moves through it as a woman's hero. 
Somehow these things always have been and always will 
be, but somehow we are always surprised when we dis- 
cover them anew. 

Mrs. Getts arose from the swinging seat and, coming 
close to the conmiandant, so close that he was sensible 
of her breathing, took from her warm bosom a blood-red 
rose and pinned it to his martial front. 

"I'd love to," he murmured, as the sudden impulse 
seized him to chuck everything, all responsibilities and 
obligations, and run off to the wild frivolity of a post hop. 
The temptation was most alluring, but he stifled the way- 
ward madness and murmured: "I'd love to, but I can't — 
quite impossible, quite." 

Out of the voluptuous night came the alluring strains 
of a Bresilienne maxixe. She put her warm hand on his 
shoulder and Swayed gently to the rhythm. It was an 
invitation, but the colonel blushed awkwardly and said: 

"I can shuffle through the one-step, but I can't nego- 
tiate those snake-charmer things." 

"I'd teach you, if you'd let me. All you'd need would 
be a few lessons — ^in private. Why, you're a natural 
dancer — just naturally graceful!" And die moved him 
through a few steps, and seemed to actually demonstrate 
his natural gifts. She paused to confront tiim with his 
own success. "There, you see!" she exclaimed, with 
bewitching triumph. 

"I believe I could learn," he admitted, modestly, and 

1318] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

then he looked about cautiously and his voice dropped to 
a confidential tone: "You see — ^well, it's like this. Tran, 
you know, has such peculiar ideas sometimes, bless the 
child; but she*s always reminding me of what is and what 
is not suitable for one of my age, and naturally — " 

"Age?" And Mrs. Getts's liquid voice ran from the 
cellar of conviction to the garret of incredulity. "Age? 
Colonel!" 

Those two words expressed the inexpressible. 

"Of course," he admitted, "I know I am not exactly 
young." 

Mrs. Getts smiled at such a preposterous assumption. 

"Still, I'm sound in wind and limb. I have no bad 
habits, don't owe a dollar in the world, and my heart is 
as young as the dawn." 

She leaned into his arms for the continuation of the 
trial dance, and he instinctively put his arm about her 
as he said in continuation of his thought: 

"I think I can say at this moment that I never felt 
better in my life, and — '* 

"Indeed?" It was Miss Tranquillity Buck who pro- 
jected this frappM interrogatoiy into spax^ as she stood 
in the doorway of the northern wing of the house and 
gazed with cold cruelty at the pretty scene. 

There was a thermometer that hung on the wall near 
where Miss Buck stood. As a matter of scientific record 
it is a pity no one of the three people had the presence 
of mind to go over and examine it, but I think we can 
safely affirm that it dropped at least forty degrees. 
Neither Mrs. Gretts nor the colonel made any effort to 
reply, but they stood like two naughty children before 
the scorn of the diminutive bimdle of wr^tth. Afte:ir sh^ 

(313} 



PEACE AND QUIET 

had waited for the victim to absorb all the discomfort 
of the situation, Tran went over to her parent and, taking 
him bodily imder her protection, she murmured: 

"You poor, innocent, helpless, unsuspecting old dear!" 

Then she focused on the passionate red rose on the 
colonel's martial front, and, taking it between thumb and 
finger, as if it reeked with infection, she dropped it scorn- 
fully into the waste-paper basket, and, turning with a 
dangerous smile to the woman in the case, she said, gently: 

"And in this connection I'd like to say that my father 
is marked private, reserved, taken, not for sale or rent, 
and any one that abuses his confidence so far as to try 
to marry him when he isn't lookmg will start something, 
and it won't bear any resemblance to peace." 

Mrs. Getts had by this time completely recovered her 
poise and her avoirdupois, and, looking down indulgently 
upon the smaller woman's inferiority, and speaking di- 
rectly at her and to the colonel, remarked: 

"And in this connection I should like to say that any 
one who would consent to become the stepmother of 
such a — ^a — ^temperament — ^would be demented, and, as 
I am planning to leave to-morrow for Washington, if you 
will excuse me, I think I ought to see to the packing of 
my trunk." And she sailed down the wind with every 
stitch of canvas stretched and leaving a ripple of triumph 
in her wake. 

Tran looked after her and knew she had had the worst 
of it. 

"Tran, my darling, she is our guest!" 

"I don't care," she affirmed, irrelevantly. **I think it's 

quite time she was going home." 

Tran!' 

[8141 



^ <«rfi_ i>» 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"You don*t love me any more," she cried, close to tears. 

"My darling, how can you say such a thing!** 

"Or you wouldn't scold me/* 

"I'm not scolding you." 

And she crept close into his arms and wept softly, and 
he caressed and tried to comfort her, and she resigned the 
post of commanding officer and was just her daddy's 
baby once more as she murmured, softly: 

"You remember the agreement you wanted me to 
make, don't you?" 

"Agreement?'* It was plain he didn*t remember it 
just then. 

"Why, that you'd promise me never to marry if I'd 
promise you never to marry." 

"Oh yes, yes — ^neither of us to marry until the other 
did— Well?" 

"Yes— WeU, I promise." 

"That's right, that's right," he cried, gladly, and he 
held her warmly to himself away from all the world that 
might, could, or should take his baby away from her only 
father. "That's a sensible, dutiful child. You'll never 
regret it." 

There was the sound of feet on the garden walk, and 
they looked up to see an officer approaching with a prisoner 
in charge of two guards and followed by an orderly carry- 
ing a basket. 

"Tranquillity dear,'* said her father, "I have some im- 
portant business to transact, and — You quite under- 
stand.** 

"Certainly, father.** And Miss Buck retired, ap- 
parently. 



. • . ■»• •■ .•' ' • , ":■■ ' -. * r 



I.I , • , . - 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE officer — ^it was Fletcher — saluted and placed 
a paperoid envelope on the mission table over 
against the left wall of the room. The comiman- 
dant stepped over to the table, lit the standing lamp, and 
sat down. The orderly placed the basket he had been 
carrying by the colonel's side. Fletcher signaled to the 
orderly and the two guards and they retired. The pris- 
oner, in obedience to a gesture, stepped forward into the 
soft light from the ceiling. It was a comic edition of 
Gen. Enrique Galboa, and as the little dandy saluted he 
burst into passionate reproaches: 

" Ees outrage !" he hissed. " To make me face the death, 
to look into the gun-barrel and smoke the cigarette ees 
all right, but to make me reediculous is the act of coward. 
Madre di Dios. I make my protest to the world!" 

"What's the matter with him?" asked the colonel, 
coldly. 

"Yoiw orders were to leave nothing on him but his 
skin, weren't they? Well, it's the clothes, sir. They 
were once good enough for me. They ought to be good 
enough for him." 

Enrique's only answer was a violent "Ah!" and a wild, 
passionate gesture of appeal to the chivalry of his enemy 
as he offered himself in evidence. It woidd seem that the 
best-dressed man in the Mexican army had a right to 

[3161 



PEACE AND QUIET 

feel annoyed. Fletcher's civilian clothes were good 
enough, as he said, though a bit passi; but in the matter 
of fit they left much to be desired. The habiliments of 
the big, raw-boned man hung on the slight figure of En- 
rique with utter disregard for its naturally graceful, well- 
proportioned lines, and even where taken in and turned 
up the unhappy effect was only increased. 

"He looks damaged," said the colonel, discerning a 
black eye and a generally rumpled and battered condition. 
"What have you been doing to him?'* 

"Well, sir, he resisted search and we used no more force 
than was necessary." 

"The force? Pooh!" said the little prisoner, with dis- 
dain. "The force ees nuthing; ees all right, the force! 
But the clothes, eh? Ah, ees outrage!" 

These refinements of feeling are lost on the burly Anglo- 
Saxon mind. The colonel untied the paperoid envelope 
and said to his subordinate: "Made any examination of 
these papers taken from the prisoner?" 

"Superficial one, sir." 

"Whom do they implicate?" 

Mr. Fletcher put a list before the colonel and stood 
back while the elder man glanced at it, and commented 
as he read: 

"The customs inspectors? Yes, they're already under 
arrest. Castleman? Yes, guilty but at large! What's 
this? Clayton? ReaUy? The United States consul at 
Tabasco?" 

Fletcher nodded in affirmation. The colonel's surprise 
changed to horror as he continued: 

"Senator Cactus? The Senator? Oh, that's dread- 
ful, imspeakable! Dear me!" And the cofnmandant sat 
21 [317] 



PEACiB AND QUIET 

in a masscy the whole thmg drifting away from him into 
the realm of the mibelievable. 

Fletcher waited for him to come back, but when he 
didn't he murmured, apologetically : ^* Yes, sir, and there's 
more. I'm afraid this is going to be a great shock to 
you. Colonel, as it was to me — " 

"Well, come on, out with it. We can't play any 
favorites." 

"Mrs. Getts!" 

Fletcher spoke the name very quietly, and it was evi- 
dent that the colonel's mind didn't grasp it, and his sub- 
ordinate had to point out the name on the list before he 
comprehended, and then he didn't comprehend. 

"Oh, nonsense!" he stuttered, with a pained, incredu- 
lous smile. "It's absurd, you know, quite absurd." And 
he turned and glared with menace at Enrique. "Surely 
this gallant Mexican gentleman doesn't implicate a 
woman?" 

"Oh, what ees the use?" said the little man, raising his 
shoulders. "There ees the papers. As for me? I say 
anything you like. Eef you take my advice, you put one 
match to all deese, apologize to me, make me a little 
present, and we forget the whole t'ing." 

Galboa's easy solution of the difficulty failed to score 
with the bewildered soldier. After a pause he muttered, 
more to himself than to them, "I, refuse to believe it." 

"But why, father? Why?" said a gentle but insistent 
voice at his elbow. I regret to say that Miss Buck's 
previous retirement at her parent's suggesttlion had been 
more apparent than real, her curiosity as to the fate of 
one Thaddeus Castleman explaining, perhaps, her in- 
ability to remain out of hearing at this critical juncture. 

[318] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

Attack is the safest defense, and when the colonel 
turned to reprove her she pressed her advantage. 

"Why do you make up your mind that Mrs. Getts 
had nothmg to do with it before you have even examined 
the documents? Why this anxiety to shield Mrs. Getts?" 

'* Because, my dear, it is quite unbelievable, quite." 

"What is unbelievable?" 

Every one turned to the speaker. The inquiry came 
in the clear, cool tones of Mrs. Getts's mellifluous con- 
tralto, as she entered from the left wing of the house, 
having evidently completed her preparations for her con- 
templated journey back to Washington. 

"Mrs. Getts," said the colonel, rising and with great 
deference, "I ask you to accept my apologies for even 
repeating such a thing." 

"I think you're overdoing it, dad," commented Tran- 
quilUty, softly. "You're overdoing it. Take your time." 

Mrs. Getts ignored the irritating challenge of the 
younger woman and repeated her question, sweetly, 
"What is unbelievable?" 

"Why, I was just affirming my profound conviction that 
it was unbelievable that the president of the Universal 
Peace Society should be a common smuggler, and of arms 
and ammunition, quite unbelievable." The old soldier 
really felt at his best in this r61e of champion of injured 
innocence. 

"Unbelievable that a woman should be inconsistent, 
father?" commented the severe Miss Buck. 

"Tran, my dear, please have some consideration for 
the position in which this places a lady of refinement and 
delicacy! Please!" 

During this rather trying ordeal the victim had stood 

IS191 



PEACE AND QUIET 

with a quiet, amused smile, and now she turned with 
complete aplomb and inquired, easily, "Who is my 
accuser?" And she turned and indicated the diminutive 
Mexican general. "Surely you would not believe this 
grotesque little monkey!'* 

"Monkey?** And Enrique almost jumped out of his 
abundant garments. "Monkey? Ah, Santa Maria, you 
see — ees the clothes, eh?'* 

The gallant colonel turned to the heroine in distress 
and said, "All I ask of you, Mrs. Getts, is just to deny it.** 

Mrs. Getts paused for a moment, as if she hesitated 
to give her tormentors even that much satisfaction, then 
she graciously condescended, and with a queenly air said: 

"Well, I deny it. Now I hope you're satisfied." 

The commandant, speaking for all, replied, "I am, 
perfectly." 

The colonel sat down with the assumption that the case 
was closed. The simple-minded man of action was at a 
sad disadvantage in a duel between two clever women. 
We can recall instances in modern affairs of honor in 
which the only persons injured were the seconds. 

Tranquillity walked slowly over to her father and put 
her hand on his shoulder as if to protect him. "Of course, 
dad, I am only a child, but have you thought of having 
the suspected person searched?" 

"TranquilUty," cried the colonel, rising in protest, 
"Mrs. Getts is a lady!" Then realizing that, after all, 
that was not a final argument, he gave expression to the 
first thought that came into his mind, and was immedi- 
ately sorry for it. "Besides, there is no one here who 
could — ^well, that is, perform so intimate and delicate 
a task,** 

[320] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

He groaned as Tranquillity replied, sweetly, "I could!" 
Then, with an air of the greatest candor and fairness, she 
continued: "Of course Mrs. Getts is innocent, and we 
must, therefore, for her sake establish that innocence.'* 

Mrs. Getts bowed graciously as she said: "Thank you 
very much. I don't think it at all necessary — ^not at all.'* 

"I don't think it necessary, either," replied the little 
prosecuting attorney, "because I am quite sure that if 
we all turn our backs Mrs. Getts will be able to produce 
the check I saw her receive from Mr. Castleman at 
Tabasco." 

If a bomb had exploded in the room it couldn't have 
created a greater sensation. It is easy to see that when 
we get female prosecuting attorneys it will be difficult 
for female criminals to escape penalties of the law in the 
graceful and facile way they do at present. 

" Check?" gasped the colonel. " Check?" 

Mrs. Getts visibly weakened. Her air of amused 
tolerance was gone as she turned with feminine appeal 
to her champion. "Oh, Colonel, isn't this awful?" 

But the military mind refused to act. You can't put 
down a thing like this with the bayonet. Everybody in 
the room felt the blow. Every one felt flabby. Miss 
Buck was the only one who retained her composure. She 
had declared war, and it was to be war with all the trim- 
mings, frightfulness included, and she issued her orders in 
a tone that admitted of no controversy. 

"Right about face — everybody! I'll give Mrs. Getts 
one minute to produce that check." 

The helpless males present tried to look remotely 
amused, but it was a ghastly failure, and then they all 
turned away, bewildered, quite powerless to take the 

[3211 



PEACE AND QUIET 

situation out of such masterful hands. A cuckoo dock 
hung on the back wall near the front entrance; its labored 
efforts could be heard distinctly, and ev^y eye watched 
its minute-hand with fascination. The prospect of being 
searched under the cold supervision of Miss Buck was 
too much for the defendant, and Mrs. Getts produced the 
check, but from where the author refuses to say. He has 
no sympathy with woman's inhumanity to woman, and 
he will protect the person of this afflicted lady. Mrs. 
Getts's surrender would have moved the heart of any 
mere male, but the best Tranquillity could do was to re- 
frain from any vulgar exhibition of triumph as she handed 
Exhibit A to her father. The colonel looked at it, but he 
did not see it. 

"So there," said the victim, weeping, but not in a way 
to detract from her beauty. "Now I hope you all feel 
better; and now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll step over 
to the hop.'* 

This was addressed to the colonel. The latter's brain 
didn't really function, but the habits of a lifetime auto- 
matically resumed sway, and he rose with grave courtesy 
and said: 

"Mrs. Getts, I'm grieved to have to ask you to con- 
sider yourself under arrest." 

The beautiful, tear-stained eyes opened wide with 
genuine astonishment. "Arrest? Wl^r, Colonel, how 
dare you?" 

"Of course, this is a mere matter of form; this will all 
be cleared up, but until further notice you will not leave 
these quarters without a pass. You are paroled." 

"Yes, sir,'* she sobbed, meekly. "Oh dear, isn't this 
horrid!" 

[S22] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

There was a peculiar light in the colonel's eyes, and a 
new tone in his voice as he said, simply, "I'm sorry." 

Tranquillity's victory was very costly. Unknown to her, 
it was in reality a defeat. 

The strain was relieved by the soimd of voices coming 
up from the garden walk, and everybody felt grateful for 
anything that promised a diversion. Consul Clayton and 
Senator Cactus emerged from the shadows and walked 
into the light of the porch, chatting volubly and greeting 
every one with the ordinary commonplaces. Clayton 
was especially buoyant. 

"Howdy, folks! Colonel, the Senator and I wanted to 
pay our respects to you, of course, but we simply had to 
find out how the ladies had survived last night's ordeal. 
My! my! who would have thought it was only last night? 
It seems years ago already! But I needn't ask. To look 
at them is enough, and I want to tell you, sir, that the 
coolness and courage of these two ladies was worthy of 
the best traditions of our race, sir, and when you and 
your boys came dpwn that hill behind us like a thunder- 
charged cloud and scattered — " The consul paused, 
vaguely conscious that he was out of key with his Fourth 
of July effort, and he and the Senator exchanged puzzled 
glanoes. 

"And my daughter tells me," said the colonel, in a 
voice that sounded even to himself strangely cold and de- 
pressing, "that if it hadn't been for you — " 

"Me? Oh, pshaw, I didn't do anything — ^happened to 
be there and happened to have a gun, which, by the way, 
was empty when you arrived on the scene.'^ 

The consul's buoyancy was dying on its feet, and he 
looked to the Senator to send reinforcements, but that 

[823] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

statesman was very busy wishing he hadn't come, cursing 
Clayton's folly, and vowing deeply that if the Lord woidd 
furnish a convenient knot-hole for him to crawl through 
this time, never again would he allow anything to tempt 
him from the paths of safety. He murmured something 
about the beautiful night, and then he volunteered: 

"Colonel, I am about to return to Washington, and if 
I can be of service to you in any way — " He caught the 
colonel's eyes and could not finish. 

"I'm afraid. Senator^ I will have to detain you for a 
short time." 

"D-d-detam?" 

"Oh, it's a mere formality, just temporarily, until some 
matters are cleared up." 

The Senator turned a seasick yellow, but he managed 
to gasp, "I don't quite understand." And he shot a 
dying man's appeal to Clayton. 

The consul looked puzzled, but with a very fair imitation 
of serenity he offered his hand to the commandant, and 
said, "Well, good night. Colonel; if before I return to 
Tabasco you should — " 

The colonel did not take his hand, but, picking up the 
list given him by Fletcher and looking at it, said, "I'm 
afraid I shall have to ask you to consider yourself under 
arrest, Mr. Clayton." 

"Arrest? What are you talking about? Me? Pish! 
tush! What's the joke? What for?" 

The Senator gathered all his forces together and ad- 
vanced boldly upon the position. "Am I to understand," 
he queried, "that I am to consider myself under — eh-^ 
under similar disabilities?" 

"For the time being. Senator." 

13241 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The statesman swelled out his chest and regained his 
oratorical voice, "Of course, Mr. Clayton, we will be 
patient; but in due time we will exact satisfaction for 
this unspeakable outrage, thorough and complete satis — '* 

He turned, and for the first time caught sight of Galboa 
meekly sitting in a comer and thoroughly enjoying the 
scene. Clayton's eye followed the collapse of the Senator, 
and he, too, developed symptoms of weak heart at the 
sight of the prisoner. Both statesmen found seats with- 
out being asked, and both were busy thinking. How far 
had it gone? How far would it go? An orderly entered 
and broke the distressing silence. 

^^ Sergeant Murdock is here, sir, with two men under 
guard.** 

"Bring them in." 

The orderly moved to the steps and signaled. Murdock 
entered with his two prisoners. They were^Poto Freddy 
and Thaddeus Castleman. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

WE left Thaddeus Castleman in a gash in the hills 
southwest of Tabasco, and he had just whispered 
to his friend. Buckskin, that he **was going to 
take it away from them/* whatever that might mean. 
Tad had fought over this terrain under Madero, and waa 
tolerably familiar with its general topography, or he 
could never have found his way out alone and at night. 
Feeling his way slowly and with great caution, he worked 
up-stream, gradually diverging to the right, until they were 
well away from the bum and confronted by the acclivi- 
ties of the gorge. Here Tad dismoimted and, loosening hia 
lariat, he gave Buckskin to understand that he was the 
leader, and the sure-footed little mustang seemed to 
understand his responsibilities, for he picked his way over 
crumbling conglomerate, through tough chaparral and 
undergrowth, avoiding hidden holes and treacherous 
rubble, and always guessing right. Frequently at Buck- 
skin's suggestion they stopped to breathe and take 
thought, and on these occasions Tad talked to his friend 
and praised his courage and intelligence. Danger seems 
to create an atmosphere where men's souls meet in higher 
understanding. Perhaps this attainment is possible to 
man and beast. 

When they stood upon the summit of the ridge under 
the vast spread of the sky, Tad got his bearings from 

[326] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the north star and knew his way. Below them to the 
east lay the dark, somber waters of Laguna Noche Buena, 
and the Rio Santa Maria. The way down to the bed of 
the river was over spasms and convulsions of nature, the 
rigor mortis of a world that died in agony. Over this 
tortured land Buckskin was the guide and leader. Tad 
keeping rein on him just enough to help him when he 
stumbled, and holding his course in a general way due 
east. When they reached the muck of the river's bank 
Buckskin plunged forward and drank greedily, and then 
heaved a deep sigh, as much as to say: ''Well, I think we've 
done very well. Here is where we go into camp"; and 
he was evidently surprised and hurt as Tad indicated a 
contrary opmion, and when his rider asked him to take 
the sullen waters of the Santa Maria the little cayuse 
absolutely refused. At first Tad thought his friend had 
grown tired of being good and was indulging in one of 
his petulant moods, but when he saw that it was a fixed 
determination he paused and gave the matter some 
thought. He knew Buckskin was no coward, no quitter, 
and if he entertained as bad an opinion of the Santa Maria 
as that perhaps it was just as well to think it over, and 
the longer he looked at the slow-moving, snaky stream 
the less he liked it. 

"All right, old boy, have it your own way," he said, 
patting the pony on the neck. ''On second thought, I 
don't like the looks of it, either," and he turned the rebel's 
head due south, and the pony went along as obediently as 
you please, showing that it was not mere temper, but 
judgment — ^what we are fond of calling, horse sense. After 
following the sinuosities of the treacherous waters for 
some miles they struck the wagon-road over which Tad 

[827] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

had trailed Enrique, and over which the Rurales had 
ridden to the capture of the ammunition train. Tad 
could have whooped for joy. He pulled up the mustang, 
took off his hat, wiped the sweat from his brow, threw his 
leg over the horn of the saddle, and relaxed. Then he 
realized what a strain he had been under. 

"Buck, old boy,*' he murmured, "it's all over but the 
shouting. From now it's as straight as a string. Come 
on, now, let's do a little business." They carefully nego- 
tiated an amateur bridge suffering from rickets, and 
then Buckskin swung into a long, easy lope which was a 
great ground-gainer and his natural gait, one he could 
hold hour by hour through the long day. On they went 
over the lowlands, up on the mesa, which here is about 
four thousand feet in elevation, and over the broken hills, 
down to the valley through which the Mexican Central finds 
its way. Again, as before, Tad stopped on the bluff to 
reconnoiter before descending to the water-tank station. 
Nothing had changed, there was the same unrelieved des- 
olation. Even the moonlight could not soften its stark ugli- 
ness, its hard, uncompromising hideousness. But there was 
a difference — ^barely discernible. It was a peculiar appear- 
ance in the sky to the right below the station; but it 
wasn't the break of day, for it was in the south. He 
determined to investigate it, and rode rapidly down the 
slope and past the station, which betrayed no signs of life. 
At a place where the railroad takes a broad sweep to the 
left it crosses a shallow, dry arroyo, over which it passes 
on a small wooden trestle. Some time before he reached 
the arroyo Tad made out against the sky a gray plume 
of smoke, and he approached it with great caution. Dis- 
mounting and keeping the lariat in his hand, he crawled 

[S28] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

to the brink and peered over. The trestle was on fire 
and burning briskly. No one was in sight. He crawled 
back to Buckskin and, feenng the pony's flank first, untied 
the sack back of the cantle and fed a few handfuls of oats 
to his friend while he chatted with him. 

"Well, old sport, it looks like we've beat them to it. 
Whoever lit that fire — ^the rebels, I guess; anjrway, they 
did us a good turn. And now, if you don't mind, we'll 
just walk up to them and take it away from them. What 
do you say?" 

The little bunch of yellow bowed his head gravely, but 
whether in assent or in a bid for more oats, it is impossible 
to say. In the best possible spirits Tad mounted and rode 
back to the station. As he reached the imgainly sprawl of 
shack and shed he saw a man lead a horse from the 
tumble-down stables, mount, and start for the north. 
It did not look like the ordinary Mexican vaquero, but 
Tad could not afford to make a mistake, so he followed 
warily, trying to get closer and closer without being seen. 

The other man was for a time so absorbed in his own 
thoughts or purposes that he was unaware that he was 
being followed, but suddenly he was sensible to the sound 
of other hoof-beats in the rear, and he turned in his 
saddle. Seeing Tad stop, he wheeled and deliberately 
rode toward him. 

Tad's relief and joy when he discovered that it was 
Foto Freddy was beyond words; a matter for instant 
regret, as it put the vocal initiative in the hands of that 
eloquent artist, an advantage he was quick to seize. 

"Why, you poor simpering simp!" he burst forth, 
angrily. "What do you think I am? You got me out 
pf the way, lost me a good job, then you weiit to the ball, 

[329] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

had a bully good time, and left me to stew in my own 
fat! How long do you think I've been waiting here for 
you? You're a keeper of engagements, you are! You 
were to follow me, at the latest, in a couple of hours, 
weren't you? A couple of years! And a nice, cheerful, 
lively morgue you sent me to! Why, if I'd 'a' stayed here 
another ten minutes I'd been a raving maniac. That's a 
hell of a place to land a man!" 

"Sorry, Freddy—" 

"Shut up! Don't you dare to speak to me. Why, 
danmed if I don't — " 

By this time Tad was as close to Freddy as their horses 
would permit. "Don't you put your hand on your gun, 
Freddy, or you'll force me to take it away from you and 
spoil a good photographer. Now if you'll let me' get in 
a word sideways I'll tell you—" 

"I don't want to hear your voice. I've no use for you 
whatsoever! I'm done with you. You go your way, 
and I'll go mine." 

"Well, go on, Freddy; don't stop. I like to hear you 
talk. You may be a bit shy on ideas, but for words you're 
a vocal geyser. Spout away." This gracious instigation 
to renewed eloquence was somehow not inspiring, and 
conversation languished as they rode on in silence, a 
silence that finally became imbearable to the man with a 
grievance. 

"Why didn't you keep your word? Got drunk, I sup- 
pose, and had to sleep it off." 

"If you know all about it, why ask me?" was the re- 
sponse. Again there was silence. Then Tad, restraining 
the temptation to laugh, said, kindly, " You*ve a right to 
feel sore, and — " 

(S80] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



'Circumstances over which you had no control, I 
suppose." 

"Exactly. IVe been arrested twice since I saw you, 
and altogether IVe had rather a lively, busy time of it; 
but I haven't wasted a moment, and, thanks to this bully 
little yellow boy, who has a heart bigger than his body, 
IVe covered the ground in time I'll defy any man and 
beast to beat. If you'll go a little slower for the sake of 
my little friend here — ^he's tired and has a right to be — 
I'll tell you all about it." And Tad told Freddy what the 
reader already knows, and Freddy's wrath ebbed slowly 
but surely. 

The day was breaking when Freddy turned and said, 
haltingly : " I guess I had the best of it, at that. I'm sorry 
I bawled you out that way. Forget it, will you?" And 
the two men shook hands solemnly. Then Freddy said: 
"Anyway, I guess our cake is all dough. They must 
have passed here long ago.'* 

"No, they haven't," said Tad. "If they had gone on 
down the line that trestle wouldn't have been fired, and 
that's been started recently." And he told Freddy of 
his discovery. 

"Well, then, theyVe taken the stuff into Tabasco." 

"No, I don't think so. Tabasco is debatable ground, 
continually changing hands. I've been in a couple of 
scraps for it myself. The battle-scarred old town never 
has time to recover from its wounds, because it's the be- 
ginning and the end of political and military ambitions, 
the cradle and the grave of revolutions. It wouldn't be 
a safe place to take that junk. No, as I dope it out, they'll 
shoot it through down into the middle of Mexico just as 
soon as they can with any degree of safety, and it will be 

[331] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

slow work, because one handy man with a match or a 
crowbar could ditch the whole thmg. Hello! Speaking of 
the devil and his cohorts, what about that?" and Tad 
pointed across a dip in the mesa as they pulled up on its 
rim. 

** There's an ideal place for an ambuscade/' he con- 
tinued. "Evidently they thought so, too, for they've 
stopped for breakfast, or to reconnoiter, or both. Why, 
Freddy, our cake is stuflFed with raisins! They've got it 
cut for us. All we've got to do is go over and eat it. 
Come on!" And they rode on down a slight incUne into 
a desolation all broken up into hills and hummocks, 
terrestrial swellings and carbuncles. Tad was right. 
Here was concealment for a small army. The tr£un had 
stopped on the farther side of this hollow, and was the 
center of a scene of great activity. Little camp-fires were 
already blazing; horses were being picketed, hobbled, 
cared for, and fed. Men, women, and even children 
swarmed over the cars. A captive rooster crowed his 
welcome to the day from the top of one of the box cars. 
All shades and degrees of mongrel dogs yelped, mules and 
burros lifted up their lamentations, and men and camp 
women were busy everywhere in preparations for break- 
fast, which was served on top of the coaches, in the cars, 
and on the ground. Here and there a sentinel was posted 
and armed men patrolled the camp. 

The two Americans rode boldly up to a sentry, and 
Tad, in reply to his hostile challenge, demanded to be 
taken at once to his commander. The Mexican officers 
were grouped around a camp-fire near the locomotive. 
They were about to sit down to a breakfast of tortillas, f ri- 
joles, and coffee. When the sentry appeared with the two 

[332] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

strangers no one betrayed the smallest interest, with the 
exception of, "Gringos," lisped softly, and an answering, 
"Yanquis"; but the strangers were in no doubt as to 
the hostility of their reception. Their salute not being 
returned and no attention being paid to them, Freddy 
turned upon Tad and addressed him with a nice brutality 
of manner cultivated by long shouting at helpless actors 
in moving pictures. 

"Say, you, speak up! Tell them I want to speak with 
the general, whoever he is, on business, and I'm not 
accustomed to be kept waiting." Freddy's tone and 
manner were not lost on his audience. They gathered 
that he thought he was an important person and was 
peeved at the frigidity of his reception. 

Tad bowed to his boiss with the servility of a stupid 
super who has been reproved before the whole company, 
and said: 

"Yes, sir." Then turning to the Mexicans with great 
deference, and with elaborateness of phrase, he informed 
them that they were in the presence of a distinguished 
American artist who presented his compliments to their 
illustrious commander and begged the very great favor 
of a personal interview upon a matter of urgent business.^ 
While the illustrious commander was thinking it over, 
with no immediate sign of reaching a decision, Freddy 
excavated from his pocket a letter and a bit of paper, 
and in a lordly fashion handed them to his hireling and 
bade said hireling, namely. Tad Castleman, to oflFer them 
to the gentleman who appeared to be the leader of the 
imcivil bunch. In condescending to take the papers at 
all the young Mexican oflScer gave the distinguished Ameri- 
can artist a study in coldness that would make an arctic 
23 [ 333 1 



PEACE AND QUIET 

landscape look like a hectic flush. However, he did take 
them and he did overcome his contempt and hatred for 
all things American enough to examine them. Both 
papers were signed by Gen. Alfredo Aggrimonte. One was 
a letter to Freddy inviting him to come to Tabasco to 
take some pictures under the personal patronage ot the 
general, and the other was a permit to take pictures any- 
where in Tabasco or within the Federal lines, and com- 
mending Fl:eddy to the good offices of those who wished 
to do the general a personal favor. Neither paper stated 
that the Mexican patriot was to get a definite sum in ad- 
vance of royalties and a very generous percentage of eveiy 
dollar received from the sale or exhibition of the pictures 
intended to be taken. 

When Major Cordoba had examined the papers he 
gave an exhibition that established his versatility as a 
self-acting thermostat. His melting would have done 
credit to a spring thaw at its best or worst. He asked 
the assistant. Tad, the hired man, to convey to the illus- 
trious artist Major Cordoba's compliments, and assure 
him that the major lived only to be of service to General 
Ag^monte and his friends. Everybody raised a hat 
and shook eveiybody else's hand. Would the illustrious 
Americans honor the sdidiers of Mexico by partaking of 
their humble fare? 

Would they? One illustrious American concealed his 
ravenous desires with the greatest difficulty. Before ac- 
cepting the hospitality of their gracious hosts the Ameri- 
cans begged to be allowed to convey some information 
that perhaps might be of service to the glorious soldiers 
of Mexico. Tad then told of a suspicious column of 
smoke se^i by them to the south, and that periiaps it 

[384] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

might be a railroad bridge or the camp of the enemy. 
The major thanked them for the information and gave 
orders to send men to investigate it at once. Freddy 
would have mixed up business with the tortillas and 
frijolesy but Tad stopped him with a warning glance. 
Freddy had eaten at the water-tank station, but Tad had 
not partaken of food since eariy supper in Tabasco, and 
he was ravenous, and all the rest of his life he looked back 
to that meal as one of the most delicious in his memory. 
When it was over the major gave his companions a nod, 
and he was left alone with the two visitors. 

As they lit their cigarettes Freddy excavated a pros- 
pectus of the Federal Feature Film Company, and asked 
Tad to put it over on the major, but Castleman with great 
deference expressed the opinion to the major that he 
would not, perhaps, be particularly interested in how 
many millions were invested in the great company or 
how much were the undivided profits, etc., to which the 
major replied that the fame of the company was, of 
course, world-wide, but that he was only interested in 
knowing how he could be of service to his two guests. 

The major was a coarsely handsome man of about 
thirty-two years of age; had been educated abroad; was 
just under six feet and a trifle heavy, otherwise an ideal 
cavalry officer. Tad had seen him at the head of his 
troopfir, as we have told, and knew at a glance that Cor* 
doba was a horseman. Tad took his measiu^ with frank 
admiration. Had the major ever ridden in the interna* 
tional horse show at London? No? What a pity! This 
was directed to Freddy, but he let the major understand 
that if he had done so no one else woidd have been seen 
under the vast roof of Olympia. How did the gentleman 

[385] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

know of the major's skill? Frankly, he didn't, but it was 
all the talk of Tabasco, and, indeed, on the other side as 
well. 

The great moving-picture company was engaged in 
making a gigantic feature to be entitled, **The World's 
Horsemen," and it was to include representatives of all 
the crack cavalry corps of the world from Siberia to 
Mexico. Would the major and his men consent to repre- 
sent the famous Rurales, the finest body of horsemen in 
Mexico, and perhaps in the civilized world? The color 
came into the bronzed face of the soldier, and his appre- 
ciation of the compliment was open, but his modesty 
forbade his assuming to represent the glorious corps of 
which he and his men were but a humble part. That was 
a pity, as his consent would undoubtedly please General 
Aggrimonte, who had a small financial interest in the film. 

Indeed? Well, that was another matter. General 
Aggrimonte's wishes were equivalent to commands. Per- 
haps a humble soldier like himself had no right to consult 
his own wishes or feelings in the matter. Financial in- 
terest? For his own part he would be happy, but, of 
course, he could not speak for his officers and men. He 
was assured that representatives of the great Federal 
Film Company would not presume to propose financial 
considerations to such a distinguished officer, but they 
were authorized to oflFer the major for distribution to his 
subordinates and men the sum of five hundred dollars, one 
hundred in gold and the rest in United States greenbacks, 
quite as good as gold. The major here undoubtedly sat 
up and took notice. He then and there concluded that 
he could decide for his officers and men, that though he 
could liot accept a^ything for himself , he could act 9^ 

1 336 J 



d 



PEACE AND QUIET 

trustee in trust for the others. In a delicate way it was 
intimated that what the major chose to do with the prof- 
fered token of esteem concerned no one but himself. 

When would the illustrious artist like to take the pic- 
tures? Now! Now? Now, meaning immediately, has 
no equivalent in the Mexican tongue. The major ex- 
pressed his surprise, almost consternation. Now was so 
sudden. The payment of the hundred in gold and the 
four hundred in bills was also sudden and confusing, but 
its nowness was persuasive, particularly when the soldiers 
returned from their reconnaissance and announced that it 
would be unsafe for the heavy train to attempt to cross 
the trestle that had been set on fire, until it had been re- 
paired. Until the trestle was renewed what better could 
the major and his men do than to take a little holiday, 
show the world what real riding was, accommodate Gen- 
eral Aggrimonte, and, incidentally, separate the despised 
Yankee from a bit of change which would be worth many 
times its face value in Mexican? It was a vote. In ex- 
plaining the situation to his officers the Mexican com- 
mander did not mention the five hundred dollars. With 
a suavity and charm quite impossible to northern natures 
Major Cordoba surrendered himself, his army, and all or 
any part of Mexico to the discretion of his guests. 

Foto Freddy, in taking command, came into his own. 
When he went into action Foto Freddy rose to the nth 
power. His energy was first disturbing, then amusing, 
then compelling. Inertia fled before it. Try as one 
would, it could not be resisted. Cordoba and his asso- 
ciates had to salute in the presence of a bom commander. 
Had Freddy gone in for cannon instead of cameras he 
would have been a master killer. Fortunately his lan- 

[337] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

guage in passing to the Mexicans through Tad was deleted, 
deodorised, and denatured. It came from Freddy with 
the continuous angry sputter of a rapid-fire gun. First 
of all he took off his coat and rolled up his sleeves. That 
was the bugle-call. Then he gave his official sanction to 
the day, and pronounced it profanely perfect. After that 
everybody had to hop, skip» and jimip. While he was 
unloading his paraphernalia from his horse he gave his 
ord^«. First he would take the train. Every man» 
woman, and cliild,every chicken and dog, had to get on t(^ 
of the cars and on the side next the camera. Freddy, 
Tad, and Cordoba rode along and quickly rearranged 
these into picturesque groups with the live stock con- 
spicuously to the fore, rooster and pig starred! That 
they did not travel in quite that way mattered not at all. 
The cow-catdier, the engine, and the tender were cov- 
ered with infantrymen, armed, ready, expectant, posed as 
looking for trouble. ^'Tell the lazy hounds to look 
fierce," he shouted to Tad. The lazy hounds laughed, 
but they were interested and amused, and when they 
passed the camera they were posing like real artists. 
The cavalry asconvoy rode alongside the train as it dragged 
its way slowly along. When they had passed the camera 
Freddy threw up his hat into the air and gave a yell of 
satisfaction. He knew it was, as he expressed it, **some 
pictiu^." Thereupon everybody was ordered to leave 
the train and go into camp. Freddy got this movement 
both in panorama effect and in individual groups. Hie 
officers' messfollowed with Cordoba in the center of the pic- 
ture. When the others were eliminated an individual pic- 
ture was made of the handsome young commander as he 
advanced, stopped, reused his hat, and smiled graciously. 

[338] 



•^ 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The stage microbe is latent or dormant in most of us. All 
children play-act, and the grown-ups either do it them- 
selves or hire it done for them. It*s a tolerably universal 
vice. By this time the movie actors were thoroughly in- 
terested — ^if anything, over-acting. It was explained to 
Major Cordoba that the next picture was the most im- 
portant of the lot. It was to form part of the gigantic 
feature. The Horsemen of the World. 

The Mexican officers were given to understand that 
these pictures would be taken from the moving train, 
and Freddy put his camera on the top of a box car im- 
mediately behind the engine, and Tad sat on the edge of 
the tender to take orders from Gen. Foto Freddy and con- 
vey them to the engineer and fireman. Nobody was on 
the train but the Mexican engineer, fireman, Freddy, and 
Tad. All but those actively engaged in riding were to 
serve as background for the pictures. It was supposedly 
a scene in a Mexican village, and the merry villagers w^re 
to laugh and applaud the feats of skill. 

After a few preliminary rehearsals Freddy called for his 
villagers, and the individual riding, the trick stuff. The 
equestrian stunts were exceedingly good, worthy of the 
best traditions of Buffalo Bill's Wild West» and the merry 
villagers were very active with appreciation, laughter, and 
applause. Suddenly a horseman was seen riding f uriou^ 
across the plain. On a smoking steed he burst upon the 
peaceful scene, making a spectacular halt just as he 
threatened to burst out of the camera into the audience. 
He announced the approach of the enemy. There is a 
bugle-call, the Rurales get to horse in an incredible time, 
and after some unnecessary evolutions go out to meet the 
enemy. It was an inspiriting scene and beautifully done. 

[889] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

It had beenarranged that they should ride north paralleling 
the train until they got the signal to stop from Gen. Foto 
Freddy from the top of the box car. The finale was to 
be a fierce cavalry charge at full speed. It worked beauti- 
fully until the charge, which seemed to be unnecessarily 
prolonged. The cavalry looked in vain for the signal to 
stop. Something had evidently gone wrong. The charge 
insensibly slackened under the uncertainty. Something 
strange was happening. There were confused glimpses of 
men apparently at grips in the engine cab, what seemed 
a short struggle, and then a squat figure of a man liux^ed 
and fell headlong from the moving engine. 

Foto Freddy was ho longer at the camera. Something 
that looked like the figure of a man was to be seen crawling 
over the coal in the tender, hover for a moment on its 
edge, and then something rose and fell. A few seconds 
later a second body was pitched free of the cab and landed 
in a bunch of greasewood in the ditch, and the train sped 
on, indeed, increased its speed. 

Major Cordoba and his officers did not realize exactly 
what had happened until they reached the damaged engi- 
neer and fireman who had been forcibly ejected from their 
jobs. Then it was too late. The old iron mule was 
belching fire and humping into the north. The dazed 
troopers emptied their rifles into her retreating form, but 
it only made her streak the faster. Freddy was no longer 
master, but the hired man. He proved a zealous fireman. 

"And some pictures," he kept murmuring with pro- 
fessional enthusiasm, as he shoveled coal, "some pictures!" 
But Tad was thinking of his little friend Buckskin, and 
hoping his new master would be kind to him. 



CHAPTER XXXn 

IT was night, about the same hour when Tad had slipped 
away from Hot Dog, and the electric lights were blink- 
ing. The news that a wild buccaneer train, deal, dumb, 
and blind to signals, was lurching into Hot Dog had pre- 
ceded them and created a mild sensation in railroad 
circles, so that when Tad with Freddy's assistance brought 
the old mule to a standstill there was a reception com- 
mittee on hand to receive them. 

As Freddy girded up his loins preparatory to alighting 
from the cab he turned to Tad and saw him leaning back 
with his eyes closed, apparently exhausted. 

"What's the matter, old man?" he asked in a kindly 
way. 

"Oh, I'm a bit tired, that's all. Don't wait for me if 
you're in a hurry." 

"Shut up. Come along with me. I'm going to take 
you to my diggings." 

Freddy's oflfer of physical assistance roused Tad to 
action, and he managed to climb down from the cab. 
As he did so a man slipped a pair of handcuffs on him, 
and some one performed a similar service for Freddy. 

"Why, look who's here!" said Tad, lightly. "Why, 

bless my soul, if it isn't my old bimkie and college chum, 

Murdock. Why, this is thoughtful, but where is the 

brass band?" 

[341 J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"You got it on/* was Murdock's tart reply. "And 
you won't make a get-away from me a second time» I'll 
promise you that, my fresh young rooster." 

" Get away from you, old friend? Why, IVe been look- 
ing for you ever since we parted. I took pretty good 
care of you in that wicked city of Tabasco, and I think 
the least you owe me is a drink and a bit of lunch — ^not 
a banquet, mind you, but a ham sandwich. I*m tired 
and hungry.** 

"Well, if you*re tired I'll ^ve you a ride. Fll do that 
much for you.'* 

And with Freddy protesting and swearing he wouldn't 
stand for it, they were bundled into an army ambulance 
and taken to Fort Gordon and straight to headquarters, 
as we have seen. Of course, if one wanted to appear to 
advantage in society one wouldn't come directly from ser- 
vice in the engine cab of a locomotive that burned soft 
coal. As the two prisoners stood before the colonel and 
his guests their disguise was perfect. No one recognized 
them until Tad spoke. 

"Howdy, folks! howdy!** 

"Why, it's Tad!" exclaimed Tranquillity, with a ring 
of unmistakable joy in her voice, and making a move 
toward the direful object with what intent may be guessed, 
for the colonel caught her by the arm and f orcfibly re- 
strained her. "But, father, don*t you see it's Tad, alive, 
thank God, aHve!'* 

"Yes," said the colonel, coldly, "I see that he is alive; 
but I'm not at all certain that there is any real cause for 
congratulation on that account. You may remove the 
handcuffs for the time being. Sergeant. Where did you 
get these men?" 

1842J 



PEACE AND QUIET 



** Arrested them as thqr were leaving their engine in 
the freight-yard, sir/' 

"We were coming, anyway. Colonel, to let you know 
that the hospital stores were back in Hot Dog." 

"What's that?" exclaimed the colonel, turning to Mur- 
dock. 

"Well, I guess the train part of it's right, sir." 

"You see, it was my idea. Colonel," It was Freddy 
who spoke. 

The colonel glared at the ex-fireman with astonish- 
ment, but Freddy had been in the background as long 
as he could stand it, and the dramatic possibiUties of the 
scene appealed to him irresistibly. 

"Oh, allow me," interposed Tad. " I don't think you've 
had the pleasiure of meeting each other. Colonel, let me 
present Foto Freddy, of the Federal Featiure Film Com- 
pany, and, incidentally, a man with ideas." 

"Yes," said the artist, with a grandiloquent sweep of 
his hand, "Mr. Castleman will tell you that it was my 
idea — ^the union of imagination and actuality, business 
and art. The idea came to me some time ago in Wash- 
ington. You see, these big things are really done, very 
easily by those who know how. We had the use of an 
engine and an entire train, an army with oflScers, uniforms, 
horses, and equipment, crowds of splendid supers, and 
all for the trifling sum of five hundred dollars. It was 
really too easy." 

"And I paid the five hundred," dryly interjected Tad. 

"What's the fellow talking about?" asked the colonel, 
helplessly. 

"Let me explain. Colonel," said the voluble Freddy, 
with a smile of condescension for the colonel's awe in the 

[843] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

presence of genius. ** First we set fire to the trestle below 
them» and then we rode boldly up to these cutthroats, 
told them they were the finest body of horsemen in the 
world, and begged for the honor of taking their pictures 
to hand down to posterity. My friends, they fell for it, 
evoluted all over the place, riding parallel to the train 
from which we took their pictures. Soon as we got the 
old engine going good I smote the fireman over the nut 
with a ton of coal, Castleman slugged and dumped the 
engineer, and then we just fed up the old plug and ran 
away from our friends, who shot us up good and plenty, 
but too late, and, believe me, we got some pictures — some 
pictures!" And large, white teeth in a broad smile of 
triumph broke through the sooty smear of what stood 
for Freddy's face, and he hastened to add: "To-morrow, if 
you'll all come over to the studio, I'll get this scene, too.'* 

The colonel looked helplessly at the others, and the 
others looked helplessly back. Then they rotated to 
Tad with the silent impUcation that he once was sane 
and it was up to him to explain this gibbering idiot. 

Tad said: "Well, of course, Freddy is an artist, will 
touch up the picture a bit, but the essentials are correct. 
We took it away from them." 

Tranquillity was the first to recover and play the game. 
" Don't you see, father, the smuggled goods being smuggled 
back, there really was no smuggling at all." 

" No, I do not see that. I don't see how two affirmatives 
make a negative." 

"What I mean is — ^it saves our face, as it were, doesn't 
it?" 

"Does it?" 

"Yes. I don't see how there can be a board of inquiry 

[344] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

now, do you? Don't you think we ought to be grateful?" 
And Tranquillity looked at Tad in a way that left no doubt 
as to her feelings in the matter. 

"Grateful, eh?" 

It was a most unfortunate word, and a most unfor- 
tunate speech; the allusion to a board of inquiry most 
tactless, largely because it gave expression to his own 
secret thought, and the fact that his daughter could rush 
shamelessly to the defense of this outlaw, who had com- 
mitted the unpardonable crime of making the colonel 
ridiculous, filled the old soldier with an irritation he found 
it difficult to control. 

"Grateful, eh?" 

His daughter started to reply, but he stopped her with 
a severity so unusual to him that it startled him. 

"Not another word!" She looked so surprised and 
shocked that he hastened to add, "Don't crowd me. 
Tranquillity, don't crowd me." Then he turned to Tad, 
who was holding himself up by the aid of a chair, and 
said: "Oh, you may sit down. You look tired. And 
consider yourself under arrest." 

"And, Tad," exclaimed Mrs. Getts, coming forward, 
whimpering plaintively: "I'm under arrest. What do 
you tliink of that? Arrest!'* 

Tad arose and gave her his seat and soothed her gently. 
"Why, that's nothing. Bo, when you get used to it. I'm 
always more or less under arrest." 

Up to this moment he had been so busy with the center 

of the stage he had not noticed the minor members of the 

cast. Now he looked around, and as the significance of 

the scene dawned on him he forgot he was tired and 

hungry, and grinned delightedly. 

[345J 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Why, say, what a jolly little party! Well, heare we 
all are, eh? Ah, and there is my old companiero, little 
Enrique, the child wonder, little bright ^es, as nice a 
little two-legged three-shell game as ever walked, forty- 
seven different varieties of spy; and almost, almost — 
Henny, old boy, you almost put it across, almost, but we 
pulled your crooked Uttle game just in time, didn't we?" 

"In time, eh?'* And Enrique jumped to his feet, his 
eyes blazing, and he spoke with such passion, such con- 
centrated hate, that he triumphed over his comedy habili- 
ments, his unheroic figure, and he seemed to brand each 
word into their comprehension with a hot iron. **In 
time, eh? You pull the game, eh? Ha, ha! ees for me to 
laugh!" And he walked to the table and would have 
picked up the portfolio, but the colonel put his hand on 
it, so Enrique pointed an accusing finger at it as he 
continued: "You see dose, eh? Already ees too late. 
Ees better than at Tabasco. Ees all come out now in 
the court, your own court, and I make you all the con- 
tempt of the world!" 

As no one present but Enrique knew the contents of 
the portfolio, his enthusiasm went unchallenged, and his 
effort to create a disagreeable impression was entirely 
successful. 

"Mr. Fletcher," said the colonel, "instruct the sentry 
that no one leaves this house without a pass until further 
orders." 

As the young officer saluted and passed down into the 
garden, the colonel walked over and opened a door lead* 
ing into the left wing of the house; then he bowed to 
Enrique and said: 

"You will oblige me, Greneral." 



PEACE AND QUIET 



u 



But, Coronel," moaned the little dandy, "the clothes!" 
And he almost wept as he grabbed the slack at his waist- 
Kne and waved it in iUustration of the shameful indig- 
nity put upon the Beau Brummel of Mexico. And he 
walked into the room indicated, bleating: "The clothes, 
the clothes! The dam' Gringos!" And he added a 
favorite descriptive epithet for Americans which, being 
translated, means cockroaches. 

In response to a nod Murdock followed him and closed 
the door. Foto Freddy looked about, and then said, with 
an uneasy smile: 

"Colonel, I'd love to stay and see this through, but I 
guess I'll have to be going — " 

"Afraid I'll have to detain you for the present.'* 

"Well, say, Castleman and I have been under an awful 
strain. We jointly and severally need a drink, Castle- 
man especially. Look at him." 

The colonel looked and said, "Tranquillity, see if you 
can get these men anything to eat." 

Freddy added, "And drink." 

"And drink. One of them, as I remember, faints with 
the slightest provocation.'* 

Tlie colonel watched his daughter disappear into the 
house with unmistakable signs of relief. Soon as he was 
sure she was gone he turned to the desk, took up the en- 
velope containing the documents and papers taken from 
Enrique, and, gaeing from it to Mrs. Getts, sighed heavily. 
Before he was aware of it the Senator had crossed the 
room, and, taking a chair, drew it close to the colonel and 
in a voice sweet and low said: 

"Cdonel, I'd like to have a little talk with you in 
private." 

1847] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Sorry, but the time for privacy is past,*' and the 
colonel looked through the Senator in the direction of 
Mrs. Getts, and while he was in this abstraction the 
Senator drew a blank sheet of paper toward him and wrote 
on it these words, which he put under the gaze of the old 
soldier: 

"Can't this be treated confidentially in some way?" 

The colonel arose and said, impressively: "You all 
understand this is a Treasury job. It will soon be out 
of my hands entirely, and I'm not saying who is guilty 
and who is not, but one thing is certain, it is obvious that 
this imsuspecting lady" — ^here Mrs. Gretts sobbed effec- 
tively — "has been made the victim of a band of — " The 
colonel let the audience supply the ugly word, and then 
he added, "Of course, it doesn't follow that a criminal 
may not be a gentleman, and I take it for granted that it 
is the unanimous wish of all here to extricate this unhappy 
woman from her predicament." 

This was a long speech for the old soldier, and it was 
delivered in labor, but as the assembled criminals gave 
silent and benumbed consent to the accusation he felt 
encouraged to continue: 

"The only question you are each one asking is how 
you may be of service to her — ^how?" Here the colonel 
picked up the telltale check from the table and held it 
carelessly for a moment while he continued: "As you 
have succeeded in getting this innocent woman into this 
dilemma, I'm sure you will leave no stone untiuned to 
get her out." 

Then the colonel put the check down on the table, took 
up the paperoid envelope, untied it carefully (it was al- 
ready untied), took out some papers and letters, and, hear- 

[348] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ing his daughter's voice calling him from the house, he 
hastily restored the papers and carelessly forgot to in- 
clude the check, which was left on the table as he made 
his exit. As a bit of deUberate carelessness it won the 
admiration of even Foto Freddy. 

The woman in the case came forward with moist eyes 
and trembUng Ups, took up the check, and, turning to 
Castleman,said: "You got me into this scrape, Tad. You 
know you did. I think it's up to you to get me out." 

"Do you know what I would do in your place?" he in- 
quired in a business-Uke tone. 

"What?" 

"I should go to my room and lose this uncomfortable 
piece of evidence." 

"Lose it?" 

"Yes, bum it or swallow it. I've never tried swallow- 
ing evidence, but I've heard of its being done." 

The tears dried in Mrs. Getts's violet eyes. "Seventy- 
five thousand dollars? Destroy seventy-five thousand 
dollars? Oh, I couldn't! It would be wicked, positively 
wicked. Oh, Senator, won't you—" 

"I must ask you to leave me out of this," hastily pro- 
tested the Senator; "but if I were giving advice, which I 
am not, I should say that was the only possible thing to do." 

Clayton bowed in assent, with the resignation we can 
always bring to the sacrifices of others, and Mrs. Getts 
knew the verdict was in. Her agitation increased and her 
tears flowed freely. 

"Bum seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars?" she 
gasped. 

Tad looked at her in wonder as he murmured, "*How 

blessings brighten as they take their flight!'" 
23 [3491 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"I can't «ay — ^I don't know," she protested, brokenly. 
"I'll have to think this over.'* And then she said to 
herself more than to them: "Oh dear, I'd begun to spend 
it already, and one can do so much good with a thing 
like that! Oh, Tad, can't you think of some other way? 
No? Oh dear!" And Mrs. Getts went softly into the 
house to be alone with her sorrow. 

"That's all very well," grumbled the Senator; "that may 
get her out of trouble, but how about us?" 

"I guess we'll have to face the music, Senator," said 
Clayton, grimly. 

"The train being back, as Castleman alleges, there is 
no actual case of smuggUng, is there, or isn't there? I 
don't know. I guess my brain isn't working.'* 

"Among other things there'll be a conspiracy charge, 
I suppose. I don't know that it matters much what one 
calls it, if one has to go to a Federal prison," gloomed the 
consul; and then he added, "I'd Uke to have Mrs. Getts's 
chance for my end of it." 

"That yellow envelope," suggested the Senator. "If a 
fire would only come down out of heaven — ^' 

"Or up out of the other place. Why play favorites?" 

} commented Tad. 

The ex^ange of further confidences between the con- 
spirators was.inte^upted.by the eAtrance of Tranquillity 

^ with a tray on which wei;e a decanter, asiphop of carbonic, 
an4 two enticing heaps of chipken and lettuce sandwiches. 
Before she had time to place the tray upon the table two 
of the, prisoners had ranged themselves alongside and had 
launched an attack which was almost indecent for its 
lUKimaUty* 
"Don't be a piggy/* she said to Freddy as she took 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the decanter out of his hand. "I think you aaid it was 
your companion that was in special need, wasn't it? 
Yes, well, I'll do this." And she poured for Tad a drink 
which erred on the side of moderation, and as she o^ered 
it to him she said in a tone so low no one else could hear, 
"Remember, always remember I believe in you." 

He paused for a moment until his voice was steady; 
then he said, "Here's hoping you won't be disappointed." 

As the colonel came from the library with the yellow 
portfolio in his hand Tad hastily swallowed his drink and 
became attentive to the sandwiches. 

The colonel looked about hastily and murmured, 
"Mrs. Getts?" 

"She has retired to her room, sir, to — to think things 
over," said Tad. 

"Very good," said the colonel, "and now, gentlemen, 
I shall have to ask you to share this room with General 
Galboa until we know just what is to be done. I am ex- 
pecting instructions from Washington, and then my 
responsibility ends." 

*^May we?" begged Freddy, making a pitiful gesture 
toward the food. 

"Yes, take that with you.'' 

"But, say. Colonel, you don't want mef** plaintively 
urged Freddy. 

"May have to hold you as a material witness. If for 
nothing else." The colonel opened the dopr and called 
to Murdock, who stepped out, and the melancholy pro-r 
cession filed past him into the room where the little 
Meidoan had preceded them. From the hostility with 
which Murdock eyed Tad it was evident that the pam^^ 
pering of prisoners found no favor in that austere mind« 



PEACE AND QUIET 

As the colonel turned to the table with his portfolio 
he made a pretense of preoccupation and of not seeing 
his daughter, and she made a similar pretense of not 
seeing him. It was the nearest approach to a breach in 
their lives, and each felt that it was the duty of the other 
to make the first advance. She would like to have gone 
to him and thrown herself into his arms, and he would 
like to have gone to her and taken her in his arms, and 
neither made a move. The colonel sat down to the 
table and tried to examine some of the papers, but the 
words meant nothing at all to him, and when an orderly 
came up from the garden with Dr. Whale the colonel 
was distinctly glad of the interruption. 

"Any news, Doctor?'* 

"I guess that's it,'* said Whale, as the orderly stepped 
forward and handed a telegram to his commander. 

While her father was reading it Tranquillity wistfully 
drifted back into the house and to the library, and tried 
in vain to escape from her own unhappy thoughts. 

"Yes, Doctor, these are instructions to turn the case 
over to you as an agent of the Treasury Department. 
Here are the papers in the case, at least those that were 
taken from the person of Galboa." 

"Good,** said Whale, trying not to look too eager. 
"I hear you have apprehended Castleman. If he's here 
I'd like to have a word with him in private." 

"Certainly," said the colonel, going to the door of the 
room which the prisoners had entered. 

"And, Colonel, this may involve diplomatic matters 
of the highest importance, so don't let a hint of this get 
out to Cassidy or any of the newspaper men. In fact, 
don't let it get out at all." 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"I understand/* 

As soon as Buck was gone the doctor pounced upon 
the portfolio, opened it, emptied its contents upon the 
table, and began a feverish and superficial examination 
of the letters and papers with a haste that evidenced the 
greatest perturbation. Something was wrong. 

Again Whale went over the papers with trembling hands. 
Then he stopped and stared stupidly at them. Tad had 
been in the room some time unnoticed, quietly poUshing 
off the remnants of a sandwich. 

"Well, Doctor?'* he said, stepping over to him. 

"My God, Castleman, it isn't here!" 

"What isn't here?" 

"Mine! My document, my paper, the one you were 
after. It isn't here." And the doctor wiped the cold 
perspiration from his taxie. 



CHAPTER XXXm 

T T 7HALE sunk into a chair at the desk. The color 
\/\/ left his face, his jaW dropped, and the lines about 

^ ^ the eyes and mouth stiffened and set almost in 
a grimace. His air of distinction was gone. That po- 
tential thing in man that makes him just a Uttle lower 
than the angels had surrendered and lay e)q>osed» hurt, 
and helpless. Tad stood still. Neither spoke. Then 
the younger man became aware> somehow, that a half- 
eaten sandwich was in his hand, and the shock of the 
incongruous brought him back to the reality of things. 
He lounged slowly to the table, deposited there the dis- 
reputable morsel, and, leaning against the desk, folded 
his arms and looked into space. 

"You are sure?" he said, softly, after some moments. 

Whale simply made a despairing gesture toward the 
portfolio. 

"Well, let's think back a Uttle," said Tad. "That ball 
at Tabasco was a deUberate plant — ^I'U stake my Ufe on 
that. It was ostensibly in your honor. It was in reaUty 
to entrap you, and then confront you with that document 
taken from a prepared prisoner, Enrique, and in the 
presence of diplomatic representatives publicly discredit 
you, the Administration, and the American people before 
the world. Old Aggrimonte wouldn't go to all that 

[S54] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

trouble for nothing. The whole thing was staged around 
that document, and if it had come off as scheduled we 
could have explained for the rest of time that your act 
was unauthorized by the Administration, but no one would 
have beUeved it. Explanations never explain, and the 
international audience loves to hiss the villain, doesn't 
it? Now, there is nothing big enough ther^,^* and Tad 
pointed to the contents of the portfoUo, **to serve for the 
center of a situation Uke that, is there?'^ 

The diplomat shook his head. *' Some of my letters are 
there, and I'm glad to get my hands on them again, but 
the big thing, the — the real thing is gone." 

"No, it isn't gone. It's slipped through the craok 
somewhere, but it is not gone. Enrique betrays a sus- 
picious eagerness to get into court, and that looks like 
he still had something up his sleeve. By the way, you're 
not going to let this get into court, are you?" 

"Not if we can help it. Of course, we must prevent it, 
if possible. There is always a certain amount of danger 
that a thing like this may get away from us; but noth- 
ing is worth thinking about until we get hold of that 
paper." 

Tad put his hands back of him and lifted himself to a 
sitting posture on the table, and as he did so he became 
aware of a disagreeable impression, which, on investiga- 
tion, proved to be due to the plastic sandwich. 

"I'm afraid I shall be compelled at last to send these 
clothes to the cleaners," he remarked, as he picked up 
the mutilated remains of the late sandwich and started 
to drop them into the waste-paper basket. 

"Hello!" he said. "What have we here?" 

It was the basket brought in with Enrique, containing 

[355] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

what was left of the latter's clothes after they had been 
searched and searched again. 

"Well, Doctor, if I were you, I would take all these 
things to my own room and go over them inch by inch 
with a miscroscope, a dissecting-knife, and a cold chisel." 

Any further investigation along these lines was made 
impossible by the entrance of Colonel Buck, who said, 
"Doctor, I don*t want to interrupt you, but before you 
go you must let me know what you want done with these 
prisoners." 

The doctor thought a mom^it, and it was apparent 
that he didn't altogether know what ought to be done 
with these prisoners. 

"Detain them. Colonel, detain them for the present," 
he said. "Keep them under surveillance, of course, but 
don't let them telephone or commimicate with any one; 
in fact, don't let it get out that they are prisoners until 
you hear from me." 

"Well," said the colonel, "I'm glad the responsibility 
is not mine." 

"And it won't be mine long," remarked Whale. "I 
have put it up to Washington, and I ought to have com- 
plete instructions before the night is over. If you don't 
mind, I'll take these exhibits with me." 

"If you care for my opinion. Doctor," said the colonel, 
glaring at Tad, "it is that all the others have been inno- 
cently led into a false position by these two ringleaders, 
Galboa and Castleman. What do you want done with 
this unmitigated Uttle scoundrel?" 

Doctor Whale was very much preoccupied in collect- 
ing the exhibits, and it was manifest that he was not giving 
the <?oloi*ers observations quite the importance they d^ 

[ 356 ) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

served, for he looked up with a startled expression and 
said: 

"Castleman? Oh, why, I — ^I wouldn't subject Castle- 
man to any unnecessary harshness. He has friends at 
Washington. In fact, be as nice to Castleman as you 
know how," and to the amazement of the soldier Whale 
shook Castleman warmly by the hand and made his 
way out with a casual, "Good night. Colonel," for the 
commander of Fort Grordon. 

There was a potential pause following Whale's exit, dic- 
ing which the simple-minded man of action was recover- 
ing the use of his faculties, and then, wagging his square 
head with turbulent scorn, he said: 

"Oh, that's it, eh? 'Friends at Washington'! A po- 
Utical pull, eh? Well, I'll be damned! That's what's 
the matter with oiu* rotten system." 

"It's my great wealth. Colonel," said Tad, grinning. 
"By the way, you haven't a cigarette about you, have 
you? Me and the trusts — ^we can do anything!" The 
colonel not responding promptly enough. Tad looked 
about, and, seeing cigars and cigarettes on a small table, 
said, "Do you mind?" and helped himself without wait- 
ing to ascertain if the colonel minded. 

"Huh!" remarked the colonel, walking away. "You'll 
get off, I suppose, and you're responsible for this whole 
miserable mess!" 

"Oh, Colonel, say not so, say not so!" And Tad seated 
himself luxuriously in an ea^-chair to encourage the 
sufferings of his jailer. 

The colonel walked up and down, ignoring the presence 
of the pet of patronage, who, having satisfied the pangs 
pf hunger, and absorbed the genial stimulant of the mea3- 

(357] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

ured drink, was coming back to the joy at living onoe 
more in padded comfort, soft lights, and the soothing 
strains of stringed instruments that floated acposs the 
parade-grounds. 

The colonel looked so ea^y. Tad could not resist the 
temptation. *'Sit down. Colonel/* he said, impudently. 
"Please, for my sake.** 

The irate soldier came and stood b^ore him and lookad 
down at him contemptuously. • ^ Friends at Washington !** 

"Yes, but don't stand out of respect tor me. Colonel.*' 

The colonel sat down jufomptly with a groan at the 
bare suggestion. 

"I have asked you to sit down because I can gee that 
you are going to hit the ceiUng, and the farther you have 
to go the less the resulting bump. You must have noticed 
that you have a daughter.** 

"Hah!" yelled the old soldier, with a movement that 
suggested an aerial effort. ^* That's a fact that doesu*t 
concern you in the remotest degree, sir.** 

"That's where you are in error. Colonel. In spite 
of being handicapped by the attitude of her male parent 
she is destined some day to marry, and — '* 

"Never, sir; never!" 

"Never is a long time. Colonel.** 

"My daughter has given me her solemn promise never 
to marry; that is, never to marry until I do; and I shall 
never marry, and I may add that no member of my family 
ever broke an oath, sir.** 

"I think it is only fair to tell you, Colonel, that I am 
going to marry Miss Tranquillity." 

The colonel's voice was naturally low and gruff. No 
one would have suspected him of a tenor note, much less 

[ 858 ] 



PEACE AND QtJlEt 

of ft fiklsettol but he ht^U l^rddueed a noise that suggested 
the inarticulate squeak of a man trying not to choke to 
death, and he made a movement that might have been 
considered hostile by the person lolling in the eady^jhair, 
who raised a noti^alafit hand and feaid: 

"Don't sdreiun» It's impossible, but true* Now, as 
it's going to take you a long time to get Ulsed to me as 
a son-in-laWi the sooner you begin the sooner you will 
ttiiive.'* 
" You marry mp daughietf** 

"Yes, sir> in spite ot the fact that I am looking for 
peace and quiet." 
"You, an adventurer, a isoldier of fortune?'* 
**8ay tiBithet a sddier of misfortune, sir." 
"A mercenary?" The colonel could only converse in 

"What do you mean by mercenary?" 

"A man who sells his sword for a price> sir." 

"Your sword i« in receipt of the usual monthly stipend, 
isn't It, Colonel?" 

"Why> oonfbund ydur infernal cheek, you're on your 
way now to a Fedend prison/' 

"No, I visit prisons; never stay in them. If in the 
future you detect me taking more Uian a passing interest 
in a prison, you have only to notify me in writing of the 
canceliaUon of your ccmsent to our marriage. Now that's 
faif." 

"Well, by— I haven't words—" 

"I gel you, Colonel. You are not over-enthusiastic. 
I can See it with the naked eye, but you must admit that 
I did the noble, honorable, beautiful thing to come to 
you fi«tk Of course I wouldn't be worthy of your 

[359] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

daughter if I took no for an answer. I wouldn't take it 
even from her." 

"No?" 

"Nor 

"You evidently don't know my daughter." 

"That will still be true after we have celebrated our 
golden wedding." 

"Ah, we shall see," exclaimed the colonel, as he raised 
his eyes to see Tranquillity entering from the library with 
a copy of Paradise Lost in her hand, which she had been 
pretending to read upside down. "TranquiUity, my 
dear, come here. Once and for all I want you to put a 
stop to the disgusting eflfrontery of this, this — " 

"One moment, father!" she said, with an air of being 
superior to the ordinary forms of human prejudice. 
"One moment! I think that if we can only get down to 
the very bottom of this we will find that Tad has been 
made the victim, not the — ^" 

"Victim?" interrupted her father, with a cry of anguish. 
"Victim? That bandit? Led astray? By whom?" 

Tranquillity's air of aloofness from the heat of con- 
troversy was beautiful to see as she remarked, calmly: 
"Well, when a young man is led from the paths of rectir 
tude, who generally does the leading? A woman, a female 
woman! 'Find the woman' has passed into a proverb. 
The finders are lucky if there happens to be only one. 
In this case, there seems to be no one to dispute the claims 
of Mrs. Getts, and — ^" 

The colonel, vaguely aware that he was at a disadvantage, 
endeavored to copy the judicial air of his daughter, but 
with poor success as he said, plaintively, "Tran, my dear, 
you're a child!" To which convincing argument his 

[S60] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

daughter raised a very pretty pair of eyebrows, and then 
he made the further mistake of becoming petulant. "You 
don't know what you are talking about. You really 
don't. You are absurd." 

Up to this point Tad had maintained a very becoming 
air of neutraUty, agreeing impartially with both, but now, 
seeing the unhappy man staggering, sparring for breath, 
his natural chivalry came to the rescue of the under dog 
with the remark: 

"No, Tran, you are mistaken. Mrs. (Jetts isn't that 
kind of a woman." 

Again the pretty, hostile eyebrows went up. "No? 
Well, Mrs. (Jetts is the kind of a woman that every man 
likes and every woman understands. She has the 
female conscience, the female versatility. She brags 
about her courage, her independence, and screams for 
freedom and dominion. She wants her rights and an un- 
limited horizon. But let her get into trouble, will she 
face the consequence of her own acts? She will not. 
Will she face the responsibility for her privileges? She 
will not. She will crawl to some poor male worm and 
whine for protection, just as Mrs. Getts is doing. She 
ought to go to prison. I would Uke to see her go and 
for one hundred and fifty years." 

"Why, Tran, you little savage!" exclaimed Tad, both 
amazed and amused. 

Thereupon she turned her guns on him and delivered 
a broadside. "Well, I can forgive you smuggUng, but 
I cannot forgive you Mrs. Getts! Look at that!" she 
added, scornfully, as the subject of these frank remarks 

9 

appeared at the door of the south wing of the house, 

^d, as if to lend color to the indictment, M|*s, Gett3 

[301] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

released a plaintive little moan and appeared on the point 
of fainting. 

Both men rushed to her assistanoe, and under the cold 
scrutiny of Miss Buck helped her to a seat by the table. 
Here she sUd something from her hand on to the tftble, 
and then looked pitifully up into the eyes of the colonel 
and into the eyes of Tad; then she applied herself to the 
consolations of her handkerchief. She had put on the 
table a small silver pin-tray> and upon it was a tiny heap 
of ashes. The men exchanged glances, md Mrs, Getts 
sobbed: 

"I couldn't stay any longer in that little room — it 
seemed so like a — a oellT' And she shuddered. 

^'Tran dear, some smellingrsalts, quick!" urged her 
father. 

"To return to the subject under discussion/* Tranquil^ 
lity replied, "you can generally fix responsibility for a crime 
by finding out who profited by it. Now that check I saw 
given to Mrs. Getts, what was the amount of that check?*' 

"Tran dear, don't be inhuman! I don't know where 
these things are. You must help us." 

**A11 right, only she doesn't need smelling-salts any 
more than I do." 

After father and daughter had entered the house Mrs. 
Getts's recovery was rapid. Almost immediately she 
gathered voice enough to miu*mur, pleasantly: 

"Why, she's jealous of me with her fath^, and she's 
jealous of me with you. Isn't that cute? How nice!" 
And then the situation as it affected her own fortunes 
overwhelmed her with its poignancy. *^Tad, they 
wouldn't send a woman to prison, would they?" 

"Well," he said, **when th^ get women on the juw 



PEACE AND QUIET 

you will all go up for life* I'm glad to see you have per- 
formed the sacrificial act." 

Mrs. Getts turned from the little heap of ashes on the 
silver tray with the sanctified grace of martyrdom and 
gasped: **It's a closed incident. We must try to forget 
it, but even if I get off, Tad, the publicity of a trial — 
think of that!" 

Tad was thinking of that^ and particularly of that in 
connection with his own future, and he then and there 
became the architect of his own fortunes. It seemed to 
him that fate had played with him long enough; it was 
time he toyed with fate a little. 

"That check gone, my dear cousin, we have only to 
think of the witnesses. Of course, the colonel will be 
forced to testify against you, and you have seen the 
gallant colonel under fire. 1 am afraid he cannot be 
trusted to lie consistently and with judgment. There is 
a way out of it; but, of coufse, you wouldn't take it." 

"Wouldn't I?" And the garments of humility fell 
away from her beautifid figure, and she arose from the 
sackcloth and ashes and stood ready to grasp boldly the 
nettle, opportunity. "You try me. Quick, before they 
come back! Tell me what it is!'* 

**Well, yoii see," i^aid Tad,' contemplatively, "husbands 
and wives are not allowed to testify agaiiist each other. 
It's a dreadful thought— fot you, I mean — ^but if you 
could bring yourself to make thie sacrifice — '^ 

Mrs. (jetts arose without assistance, and with a firm 
tread walked to the steps leading down into the garden. 

"When the colonel returns, if you can see him alone, 

tell him Vm waiting for him in the garden, under the 

umhrtUd'lfeer 

13631 



PEACE AND QUIET 

"Yes," assented Tad, "the fresh air will do you good/* 

And the night seemed supremely beautiful to Thaddeus 
Castleman as he stood leaning against one of the classic 
pillars of the portico and looked down into the garden 
of youth and into the dim pastures of the future. 

"Where is she?" asked the colonel, anxiously. "I left 
Tran looking for the salts. It occurred to me that this 
might be more efficacious." And the colonel displayed 
a small glass, which Tad took from his hand and, smelling 
it cautiously, said: 

" Oh yes, this is better. Thank, you. Colonel." And he 
drank it at a gulp. 

The colonel was so amazed at this impudence that he 
was absolutely helpless. 

"She doesn't need it now, Colonel. Yes, that*s good 
whisky. You see, that little measured, stingy dose that 
Tran gave me was a lady's drink. Now I can think 
clearly. Mrs. Getts — " 

"How is she now?" asked the colonel. 

"Much better; only her fate is in yoiu* hands, sir. I 
must speak plainly and quickly before Miss Tran returns. 
Of course your testimony against her — *' 

"Oh, Lord," groaned the colonel, "it won't go as far 
as that, will it?" 

"I know of one way to prevent it, sir, and only one." 

"Yes?" asked the colonel, eagerly. 

"Well, as you know, husbands and wives are not al- 
lowed to testify against each other. Of coiu'se it's a 
dreadful thought, but — " 

"Yes, yes," assented the colonel, as if the thought 
were not altogether new, "but there is Tranquillity." 

"Yes, it's hopeless, isn't it?" 



[364] 



PEACE AND QUIET 



"Well, it presents difficulties, still — " 

"And her faith in you, sir!" 

The colonel looked shyly pleased and grateful, but all 
he said was, "Mrs. Getts?'* 

"Ought I to violate a lady's confidence? No, I'm sure 
I ought not." 

"No," said the victim, simply, "not if it were a con- 
fidence." And he started to walk bravely away from 
temptation; but as Tad seemed to be undecided, he 
came back and inquired with almost boyish eagerness, 
"What did she say?" 

"I dare not tell you, sir; but she expressed the wish 
that you would join her in the garden — under the 
umbrella-tree, if I remember correctly; and I will en- 
deavor to engage Miss Tranquillity in conversation until 
you return." 

Again Thaddeus Castleman reviewed the glories of the 
night and pronounced the world exceedingly good until 
his reveries were interrupted by the voice of Tranquillity 
saying: 

"Smelling-salts, eh? Well, here they are, and of all 
the cheap, sentimental, worn-out tricks — Where is my 
father, or perhaps I need only ask where is Mrs. Getts?" 

"Tran dear, come here. Seriously now, don't you 
think people can live too much for each other?" 

"What do you mean?" she asked, with cold suspicion. 

"Why you and dad are Uving too much for each other 
— much too much." 

"Did he tell you that, or is that your own beautiful 
thought? Did he? Oh, what ingratitude! Where are 
they?" 

Thaddeus Castleman, hero, folded his arms, and it was 

24 [365] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

manifest that wild horses would not drag his guilty secret 
from him; but the beUigerent Miss Buck detected what 
she thought was a furtive look in the direction of the 
garden^ and before he could interfere she had started a 
personally conducted tour of investigation. 

Again Thaddeus Castleman leaned against the white 
oolunms and looked out into the night. He felt strangely 
happy in spite of the fact that he knew that if anybody 
dropped a lighted match the whole dream would go up 
in smoke. 

"Yes," he murmured to the stars, "when I get back 
into the Garden of Eden, I shall rearrange the shrubbery 
a little; we'll buy our apples and the trees shall all be 
umbrella-trees." 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

W'HEN the errant Miss Buck returned from her 
reconnaissance she found Tad blinking amiably 
at the stars, momentarily at peace with all the 
world. 

"Come here," she commanded, in a tone 5ic volo, sic 
jubeo. "I want you to see something.'* 

"But I don't want to see it," he responded, gently. 

"See what?" 

"Whatever it is that you want me to see. I don't 
think it's good for me, for any innocent young person like 
me, to see such things." 

" You idiot !" she blazed. " That's one thing I positively 
loathe about you, that you can't understand when other 
people are serious." 

"Well, you didn't like what you saw, did you? Then 
why not spare me? It's always that way; love is always 
nauseating to the third party." 

"Love?" she hissed. "Is that love?" And she shud- 
dered with disgust. Then she advanced upon him with 
menace. "That was his idea of love, was it?" Then 
she trumpeted this challenge, "What is love?" 

"Love?" he repeated, thoughtfully, as one apart from 
and superior to his subject. "Two souls without a single 
thought, That's love." 






PEACE AND QUIET 

If his aim was to soften the asperities it had just the 
opposite e£Fect. The storm sigmil went up. 
Tell my father I want to speak with him." 
Darling, have you any regard for my future relations 
with papa?'* 

"Very well, I don't need your assistance. Father!" 
she called down into the garden and in the direction of 
the umbrella-tree. "Father dear!" There was no im- 
mediate response. 

"Call again," suggested Tad. "Perchance he sleepeth." 

"Father dear, I want you!" 

This rose into the mihtaiy zone of command and 
struck a responsive chord in both the soldier and the 
father. 

"Eh, what?" came from the garden with a somewhat 
startled note, and then followed in a tone dripping with 
the oil of gladness, "Yes, dear; coming right away, right 
away." 

"Now see here, Tran," Tad said to her as they waited, 
"don't be too hard on him. Remember you were young 
once yourself." 

"Yes, dear?" said the colonel, with bland innocence, as 
he stood before her. 

"What do you mean by the position I saw you in?" 

Oh, the brutal frankness of children! 

"Mean? Mean?" Coming into the strong Ught 
from the garden made the colonel blink uncomfort- 
ably. "You see, Tran my dear, Mrs. Getts is — ^was a 
bit hysterical — Naturally, under the circumstances, 
she was frightened — " 

"And what were you doing, frightening her?" 

Then the bewildered soldier tried a demonstration in 

[868] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

force. "You have always been such a dutiful child. 
Tranquillity, I don't understand your position/' 

"Well, I understood yours." 

Repulsed with a loss, the colonel fell back on his reserves. 
"I was only trying to comfort the imhappy lady, that's 
all, and Mr. Castleman here will tell you that we have 
all agreed that if it can be done with propriety this imfor- 
tunate a£Fair must in some way, for all our sakes, be — eh — 
er — ah — " The colonel found it difficult to find the word. 

His daughter supphed it. "Hushed up, eh?" 

"Substantially that." And the colonel waved indef- 
initely at Tad for confirmation. 

"That is correct," said Tad, genially. 

TranquiUity turned with amazement upon such temer- 
ity and such treachery. "Oh, so you're on his side in 
this, are you?" 

"Yes, Tran, I must admit I am with father in this." 

The colonel grasped Tad by the hand and shook it 
warmly. After all, real courage covers a multitude of 
sins. 

"'Father,* eh?" she repeated, with deUberate scorn. 
"Well, I'm not a member of the Hush-it-up Club, and 
some one will have to show me." 

Here the long arm of coincidence deliberately knocked 
at the door, the door of the room where the remaining 
prisoners were impatiently waiting, and Murdock opened 
it sufficiently for the Senator to poke out his Daniel 
Webster and say: 

"Colonel, may we have just a word with you?'* 

"All right, Sergeant." 

And the Senator, Clayton, and Freddy entered in solemn 
state, and each one looked to the other to begin. Finally 

[869] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

the Senator cleared his throat and began an address in 
his most conciliatory manner. 

""I think it is agreed that this is a most unfortunate 
affair." 

No one disputed this, but the oratorical pause got on 
the consul's nerves, so he interrupted to say, "Friends, 
we have been talking this little matter over, and — " 

The Senator raised a generous hand in protest. " Better 
leave it to me. No one here, I take it, cherishes any 
animosity. No one here desires the punishment or ruin 
of any one else. One and all, we are seeking the same 
goal — ^namely, what will bring the greatest good to the 
greatest number, or occasion the least suffering — '* 

"We think something ought to be done — ^that's it, 
isn't it?" asked the consul, nervously. 

"And we ought to come, perhaps we can come to some 
agreement among ourselves," continued the Senator, 
looking around benignantly, as if about to pin on some 
worthy breast the order of distinguished merit. His eye 
rested genially upon Tad, who acknowledged the compli- 
ment, and then bowed to Miss Buck, saying: 

"The Hush-it-up Society will please come to order. 
Yes, Senator, you have the floor." 

"We think," continued the Senator, "that with the 
assistance of Mr. Brown here — " 

"Known to the trade as Foto Freddy," explained Tad. 

"Yes, with his assistance, we could perhaps — er — eh — " 

"Develop a negative, is that it. Senator? Well, go 
on. This is most interesting." 

"We thought that it might be suggested," murmured 

the alibi artist, "that certain of us were led into this 

affaur, this trap, imder the mistaken notion that we were 

[8701 



PEACE AND QUIET 

merely participating in a little harmless commercial 
moving-picture enterprise, and — ** 

"We believe,** interpolated the consul, "that the law 
would be satisfied with one conspicuous — ** 

"Victim?'* suggested Tad. 

"And as M^. Castleman here,** beamed the Senator, 
"with his record, is absolutely certain of conviction any- 
way—** 

Tad stopped him with a kindly gesture as he said: 
"You have heard the motion. Before any one moves to 
make it unanimous — '* 

"What's this?'* inquired Tranquimty,duUy. "How's 
this?" 

Tad continued: "It has been moved and seconded with 
enthusiasm that I should have the honor of being the 
goat. Are there any remarks?" 

Tran moved to his side and put her hand upon his arm. 
"Why, I never heard of anything so ridiculous, so out- 
rageous, so cowardly.** 

"We will, of course," placated the Senator, "supply 
financial inducements of the most attractive kind." 

"There being no further remarks,** said Tad, "are you 
ready for the question?** 

"Wait a minute,** said Tranquillity. "I am not going to 
stand by and see you railroaded to prison." 

At this moment Mrs. Getts emerged from the garden, 
crowned with serenity. Hers was a resilient nature rest- 
ing uneasily under the shadows, seeking ever its natural 
place in the sun, and quite conscious of the advantages 
of the umbrella-tree over the verdure of the deadly upas. 
Mrs. Gretts's smile as she entered invited them, one and 

all, to forget their troubles in her happiness. It was an 

1871) 



PEACE AND QUIET 

appeal that no mere male could resist, but it dashed in 
vain against the stony stare of the relentless Miss Buck. 

"If anybody goes to prison for this aflfair," Tranquillity 
said, with cold incisiveness, "you may rest assured it will 
be a woman. I will see to that." 

"Isn't it nice of her to volunteer?" murmured Mrs. 
Getts, with practised sweetness; and the unhappy colonel 
started toward his implacable daughter with a look of 
entreaty, but before he could rush in where angels might 
well fear to tread, Lieutenant Fletcher entered from the 
garden with a telegram in his hand. 

"Colonel," he said, "this has just come. It is for one 
of the prisoners." 

The commandant took it, glanced at its superscription, 
and said: "Oh, this is addressed to you, Mr. Castleman. 
Under the circumstances I think it is proper for me to 
open it." 

"Why, father!" said Miss Buck, and just those two 
words left the colonel in no doubt as to the indehcacy and 
impropriety of such a proceeding, but Tad stopped her 
with a gesture. 

"By all means. Colonel," he said, with suspicious 
deference. "Of course father will open it. Thank you. 
Colonel." 

If the colonel hadn't been absorbed by what he read 
he would have known that the young man's humility was 
too good to be true. The colonel stood silent, staring at 
the yeUow piece of paper, and then he murmured, mdis- 
tinctly. / 

"Well, upon my soul!" 

His faculties not meeting the shock with sufficient 
promptness, his executive daughter took the paper from 



PEACE AND QUIET 

his hand with a perfunctory^ ^^May I?" and handed it to 
the man to whom it was addressed, and said, ^'Do you 
mind, Tad?" and looked over his shoulder as he perused 
the message. ''It's from Washington," she added, and 
as Tad's faculties did not seem equal to the occasion, 
she took it into her own hands, and after she had read 
it carefully she inquired of her father, ''Who is Craig 
Campbell?" 

"Head of the United States Secret Service, So you've 
been a Secret Service agent in this matter, Mr. Castle- 
man — a spy?" 

When the word spy exploded in the room it was followed 
by a violent silence, and the air seemed filled with suffocat- 
ing smoke and asphyxiating gases. 

It was evidently a high surprise to Tad, for he took 
the paper and read it carefully again. It was in these 
words: 

Congratulations on the splendid work you have done in this 
case. Permanent position awaiting you in our service. 

Craig Campbell. 

As Tad looked up he saw every eye in the room fixed 
upon him, and he recoiled under that concentrated hate. 
He knew then the price he paid for the privilege of serv- 
ing his country. Mrs. Getts was the first to recover, 
and she advanced to him and faced him and uttered just 
the word the colonel had used: 

"Why, you wretched little spy!" 

Tad unconsciously started to tear up the telegram into 
small bits; but Tranquillity took it away from him and 
faced them all. 

"Spy?" she said, with trembling scorn. "What non- 

1373] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

sense! Why, the Secret Service is as honorable as the 
Army, Colonel Buck, and very much more dangerous. 
Tad, I'm proud of you!" 

He looked at her with moist eyes, but said nothing. 

Eveiy one was glad of the interruption made by Dr. 
Whale coming briskly up from the garden walk, but before 
he could speak the colonel met him with a volley that 
staggered him. 

""So, we owe all this infernal mess to your agent, Mr. 
Castleman?'* 

Whale had come forward with a new light in his eyes. 
Now he paused, speechless. Finally he stammered, " Why, 
Castleman, I thought this was to be kept a secret?" 

"I'm sorry. Doctor. It wasn't my doing. This gave 
it away." And he handed the message to Whale, who 
read it very thoughtfully. He, too, was evidently sur- 
prised, and not at all pleased. 

"Secret Service is a misnomer, isn't it?" he said, diyly. 
And then he looked up and smiled and took Tad warmly 
by the hand. "And I want to congratulate you, too, 
with all my heart," he said, with una£Fected enthusiasm. 
This is going to be a red-letter day in your life, my boy." 
Really?" said Tad, coldly. 

Instinctively the others moved away from the two men, 
and then Tad looked again and saw a different man, the 
man of distinction, the man of the world, and Tad caught 
the triumphant look in his eyes and knew that the stone 
had been rolled away. To his anxious look of inquiry 
Whale only laughed and said: 

Everything's all right, my boy. Couldn't be better. 
You found it, then? 

y^s." 

(874J 






PEACE AND QUIET 

"Where?** 

Virhale glanced about to see that they were not observed, 
and then he touched the sole of his shoe with his cane. 
Tad said, "Falser 

"One false one is enough for most men; that little devil 
had three/' 

An orderly entered with a telegram and handed it to 
the colonel, who started to open it. 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. Doctor, this is for you.'* 

ViThale took it, opened it, and to the strained observa- 
tion of those present he seemed bent on reading it the 
rest of his life. His face betrayed nothing but astonish- 
ment. 

Finally Tad could stand it no longer and he gasped: 
"Well, Doctor, well?** and Whale handed the telegram 
to him. 

Then Tad read it over and over again, to the utter 
dismay of those sujffering in cruel suspense. The strain 
was finally broken by Tad saying, in a most casual way: 

"Why, say, the President has lifted the embargo!** 

"Embargo?** gasped Mrs. Getts. "What's that? And 
where has he lifted it to?** 

"This says that it is only just about to be made public — 
been kept back to stop stock-jobbing, or something like 
that; but it was signed on the seventh!'* 

Then Tad did a crazy thing. He threw up the telegram 
in the air and let out a good old college whoop, and yelled: 

"Do you know what that means? On the seventh! 
Four days ago, eh? Why, then there hasn*t been any 
smuggling, consequently there are no smugglers, conse- 
quently no one can be under arrest, consequently you will 
all join me in three hearty cheers!*' 

[875] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

The dazed prisoners gave a feeble, sickly imitation of a 
cheer and, open-eyed and open-mouthed, looked to Whale 
for confirmation of news too good to be true. 

"Well,** said that functionary, "I guess he's right." 

Oh, the solace, the consolation of the commonplace, 
the usual! Every one in the room fled to its shelter now. 
There was a moment of oppressive embarrassment, and 
then every one tried to look the unconcern which no 
one felt. Without discussion a silent and unanimous 
agreement was reached to draw a veil over that imhappy 
night. 

The Senator, as was natural, was the first to reach his 
vocal cords. "Well, Clayton," he said, simply, "I think 
we'd better be going." 

The colonel moistened his lips before replying, "Well, 
that is up to the representative of the Treasiuy Depart- 
ment." 

"Well," said the diplomat, echoing the word for the 
third time, "in the circumstances I don't see any par- 
ticular reason for detaining these gentlemen. Early to- 
morrow I will have this confirmed. In the mean time, as 
a mere matter of form, be within call." 

The consul betrayed signs of regaining his usual poise 
as he said, with some heat, "I am begmning to feel a cer- 
tain amount of annoyance with some one — " 

"My dear Consul," said Tad, diyly, "the password 
for to-night is, forget-it." 

"Quite so, quite so," agreed the Senator, "the Christian 
spirit, forgive and forget! All's weU that ends well. 
Silence is golden." And if he could have thought of 
another innocuous platitude he would have poured its 
oil over the occasion. He managed to include eveiy one 

[876] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

in the parting benediction of his well-known and elastic 
smile as he murmured, ^'Grood night, all." 

As Clayton, the Senator, and Freddy disappeared into 
the night Buck asked, "'What about Galboa?" 

"That^s up to the department," said Whale. "In the 
mean time I think you'd better return him to the guard- 
house." 

As Enrique passed through the room in the custody of 
Murdock he directed a swift glance of contempt at the 
open complacency of Whale, but outside of that he gave 
no sign, though he knew something had happened. What- 
ever it was, he allowed his enemies no hint of his chagrin 
or humiliation. In the presence of Enrique and Castle- 
man it was impossible for the professional diplomat to 
treat himself to any very agreeable illusions. With the 
smell of smoke upon his garments he really entertained 
no great enthusiasm for the man who had plucked him 
as a brand from the binning, but he managed to say, 
with a fair degree of cordiality: 

"Your future is assured, Castleman, and personally 
I shall never forget what you have done. If ever I 



can — 



Tad stopped him. "That's all right. Doctor. I guess 
my debt is paid. Let it go at that. Good night. See 
you in the morning." 

As the gentlemen who had spilled sand in the machinery 
left the room a beautiful dreamy silence rose up from 
nowhere, and held two men and two women in its sweet 
embarrassment, the kind of silence that pervaded Eden 
before they put up the sign — ^For Rent. 

Surrendering to the laws of gravitation, Mrs. Gretts 
and the colonel drifted toward each other, and Tad had 

1877] 



PEACE AND QUIET 

t 

found the not unwilling hand of Tranquillity. Finally 
he said: 

*' Speaking of the weather, this has turned out to be 
an exquisite night. Have you noticed it> Tran? Come 
on out and notice it. IVe got something I want to say 
to youy and it's our turn at the old umbrella-tree.*' 

Tranquillity seemed to be torn between conflicting emo- 
tions — an unwillingness to leave her father and Mrs. 
Cretts together^ and a sincere desire to notice the night — 
but he decided for her, which was as it should be, and 
they were on the steps leading down into the garden when 
Tad suddenly looked back. Mrs. Lot's experience has 
never taught us anything. What he saw seemed to oflFer 
a climacteric opportunity to win or lose, and he never 
hesitated, but turned and swooped down on the colonel, 
seized his hand with an enthusiasm not to be denied, and 
cried: 

"Father!" Then he turned upon the staiiled Mrs. 
Getts, grasped her hand, and murmured, "Mother!" 
Then he put the two hands together and, raising his own 
above their heads, exclaimed, "Bless you, my parents!" 

The dismay and confusion of the other three was com- 
plete when Tad, suddenly recollecting something, cried 
in genuine consternation: 

"Good Lord! mother, we've burned up seventy-five 
thousand dollars' worth of the family's good money!" 

Mrs. Getts met this calamity howl with a shy and 
cunning smile and a demure Uttle protest, "Well, I should 
worry!" 

"Oh, you cheater!" cried Tran, with instant penetra^ 
tion. "You didn't do it." 

The colonel went to the table and picked up the small 

[378] 



PEACE a:nd quiet 

silver tray with the evidential ashes, visible testimony 
that woman's instiiict is always superior to man's reason, 
and asked her in a tone trembling with the joy of pos- 
session: 

"Where is it now, beloved?*' 

She laughed a joyous, girlish laugh as she said, "I'd 
hate to tell you." 

Instantly divining a family discussion. Tad picked up 
Miss TranquilUty Buck and bore her bodily from the 
temptation to argument. And as he held her close under 
the fatal benediction of the umbrella-tree she resigned 
herself to his strong arms, and as they looked up into 
the eternal mystery of the stars she started to murmur 
something sweet and tender, but he put his hand gently 
but firmly over her mouth, and said: 

"Don't say a word. Don't start anything. Let me 
beUeve in peace and quiet just for a moment, with Tran- 
quillity." 

And then he uncovered the pouting lips and kissed 
them, and they both laughed softly. 



THE END 



i